Through 17 seasons in the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is about as decorated an athlete as there is. He’s got gold medals, MVP awards, NBA championships and much more. However, there’s one award he’s never won and probably never will and that’s the Slam Dunk Contest championship trophy. Unlike many greats in the past such as Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant, LeBron has never even competed in the contest.
While it may seem like a trivial contest, some have an issue with LeBron’s recurring decision to pass on showing off his dunking skills. Chief among his critics is FOX Sports’ Skip Bayless, who went after the superstar about avoiding the dunk contest.
“LeBron owed his billions of fans just one dunk contest,” Bayless said on Undisputed. “Michael Jordan did three dunk contests … The excuse I always hear is ‘he’s a power dunker, he’s not a contest dunker.’ And yet, night after night I watch him and nearly every night, even at age 35, he pulls off one contest worthy dunk … To me, he’s trying to protect his reputation from the start because he feared that he would go lose the dunk contest to some 6’4 jump out of the gym kid who didn’t even get drafted like Derrick Jones Jr.”
Bayless calls LeBron out quite often, but there is some merit to his argument. Many of the top NBA stars have participated in the dunk contest. It’s highly unlikely that LeBron does it at this point, and it feels like a missed opportunity.
LeBron Thought He’d Do the Contest in the Past
At the end of the day, a dunk contest win is pretty trivial compared to the other accolades LeBron has accumulated over the years. While it would’ve been fun to see him throw down, he probably won’t lose much sleep over it. LeBron has explained in the past why he’s chosen to forego the contest.
“When I first came into the league, I expected that I would do it,” LeBron said, per Chris Haynes. “I did. I did for sure. But it just never happened. I don’t know why. There was times when I wanted to do it and didn’t do it and there was times when I just didn’t really care about it too much. But it definitely would have been pretty cool to do.”
Obviously, LeBron values other things over participating in a dunk contest. If he did participate, it would certainly be a spectacle. Unfortunately, the world will never know what this scene would have looked like.
Follow the Heavy on Lakers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
LeBron Believes 2020 Dunk Contest Should’ve Been a Tie
Speaking of dunk contests, Saturday’s was one for the ages as both Derrick Jones Jr. and Aaron Gordon put on an absolute show. It was a memorable matchup, but it ended in controversy as Jones won on a dunk that many didn’t see as better than Gordon’s final attempt – a slam over 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall. LeBron took to Twitter after the contest to campaign for a tie.
Unfortunately for Gordon, it’s too late for a tie, but it’s hard to argue that he didn’t do enough to deserve a trophy.