LeBron James’ reasons for avoiding the dunk contest throughout his career have finally been revealed.
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who has covered James closely his entire career, part of James’ refusal to participate was because he wasn’t selected as an All-Star in his rookie season.
The other factor was LeBron not considering himself to be an especially good dunk contest performer.
“He pouted and didn’t do the dunk contest,” Windhorst said on his podcast this week, really referring to the fallout from James missing out on All-Star selection as a rookie.
“Sprite was the sponsor of the dunk contest, tried cash incentives to get him to do it. Part of the reason was he didn’t think he was good in dunk contests.”
In terms of LeBron not being at his best in dunk contests, Windhorst pointed to the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest that LeBron participated in the previous year.
James was awarded the title but Windhorst suggested it was a rigged vote, with Shannon Brown being the deserving winner but LeBron getting some extremely favourable hometown treatment.
NBA fans and media members have long campaigned for James to throw his hat in the ring for the dunk contest, especially after he said he would do exactly that during an infamous interview in 2009.
But the people never got what they wanted, and with LeBron now 39 years old, they almost certainly never will.