LeBron James’ decision to steer clear of the dunk contest throughout his illustrious career has been shrouded in mystery. However, the real motives behind his reluctance have finally come to light. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, a trusted source who has closely followed James’ journey from the start, has shed some light on the matter. One of the primary reasons for LeBron’s apprehension was the fact that he was not chosen as an All-Star during his first year in the league. Additionally, LeBron himself never saw his dunking skills as particularly outstanding, further contributing to his hesitation.
“He was disappointed and chose not to participate in the dunk contest,” Windhorst shared on his recent podcast episode, referring to the aftermath of LeBron’s initial exclusion from the All-Star selection as a rookie.
Sprite, the sponsor of the dunk contest, attempted to entice him with cash incentives to take part. One of the reasons for his reluctance was his belief that he wasn’t particularly strong in dunk contests.
To support this claim, Windhorst pointed to LeBron’s participation in the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest the previous year. Although James was crowned the winner, Windhorst hinted that the vote may have been manipulated, suggesting that Shannon Brown arguably deserved the victory but LeBron received favorable treatment due to his hometown status.
Both NBA fans and media members have tirelessly campaigned for LeBron to participate in the dunk contest, especially after he expressed his intention to do so during a notorious interview back in 2009.
However, their wishes were never fulfilled, and it is highly unlikely that they ever will be. Now at the age of 39, LeBron’s chances of competing in the dunk contest have significantly diminished.