New Orleans Pelicans’ All-Star forward Zion Williamson will not take part in the 2021 NBA Dunk Contest.
Zion’s decision marks a trend of player’s reluctance to join in All-Star weekend events.
The All-Star game’s festivities are set to take place on March 7, starting with the skills event.
Making his first All-Star appearance, Williamson was a player many fans wanted to see in the dunk contest.
While most players are eager to spend All-Star weekend with their friends and families, this year’s heavy travel restrictions will limit how much time a player gets to spend with those people.
In fact, the league recommends even players not named to the All-Star rosters remain in their home markets during the break.
Many players gave notice to the league months in advance that they would not take part in All-Star events if they were not named to one of the squads [Team LeBron or Team Durant] going to Atlanta.
The hype and buzz that are traditionally present around All-Star weekend have not manifested this time around.
A number of big-time players such as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo have voiced their objection and displeasure with the NBA even having a game.
Zion is not the only high-flying prospect to decline an opportunity to throw it down this season.
Among other names, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards, Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown, and the Charlotte Hornets high flying Miles Bridges have also declined invites to the event.
Past participants to also decline an invite were Chicago Bulls’ first-time All-Star Zack Lavine, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, and Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr.
The latter group bypassed the opportunity a while back.
The Slam Dunk contest is set to take place during half-time of the 2021 NBA All-Star Game at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia.