It’s a tale as old as time…or 10 years. Whatever. Will LeBron James be in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest? Short answer: probably not. However, for the last decade, LeBron has been teasing fans with the possibility he’ll perform. The saga of the LeBron dunk contest comes around every year around this time and it will probably continue until he retires. While most will think of the last two years of troll-y dunks and waffling, this saga has gone on since 2003. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
2003 McDonald’s All-American Dunk Contest: The King Arrives
LeBron James competed in the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest and he won. Easily. But one thing stood out: he didn’t really do anything amazing. His dunks looked pretty much like dunks we’ve seen him do during games. Yeah, he’s better than everyone out there, but this was easy for him.
2004 Dunk Contest: Craig Sager Sh*ts On Fred Jones
If you recall, the 2004 dunk contest was pretty awful. LeBron James, a rookie at the time was silent in his refusal to participate. Sager practically begged LeBron to compete the next year because, well, the contest f*cking sucked.
2006 Dunk Contest: LeBron Throws Shade
This was the first year we really got an explanation from LeBron about his lack of dunk competitions: “I’m not a slam-dunk-competition-type of guy,” said the Cavaliers forward, who won the only dunk contest he ever entered as a high school senior. “On the spur of the moment, I can do dunks during the game. I can’t think of a dunk before I do it. I’ll leave it up to the guys who don’t play as many minutes as I do. Those guys can go out there and throw the ball between their legs and stuff.”
Damn, son. Didn’t have to put it like that. When asked if he’d ever compete, here’s what he had to say:
“I don’t think so,” said James, who plans to participate in the All-Star weekend’s skills challenge. “I got the first two years out of the way and that’s when you usually do it. I don’t want to be defined as being in the slam dunk contest, it’s just not me.”
We should have just listened then.
2009 Dunk Contest: Primary Preliminary Announcement
And here it is. In one moment of being gassed up by Kenny Smith and a live crowd, LeBron James announced that he’d be in the 2010 Dunk Contest. If he hadn’t made this announcement then there wouldn’t be as much fuss now. But he went and said he’d be in it for 2010 and the world was waiting.
2010 Dunk Contest: LeBron Backs Out
The writing was on the wall. We should have seen it coming. But the allure of a LeBron dunk contest had us all blind to the fact he wasn’t going to compete. Nate Robinson and Shannon Brown were all waiting for LeBron and challenging him. But nothing. Which reminds me: I need to stick more pins in my Shannon Brown voodoo doll for the most overhyped and worst dunk contest performance of the last 10 years.
2011 Dunk Contest: LeBron Waffles
Here’s a report on LeBron James and the dunk contest via ESPN:
LeBron James wants to be part of the dunk contest at All-Star Weekend. He’s just not sure it’s a smart idea.One of the game’s best dunkers, James acknowledged Friday that he often considers committing to be part of the field but then finds himself waffling.
James said at some points he tells himself, “Yeah, I’m going to do it,” but then he thinks about the wear and tear on his body and reconsiders.
At the 2009 All-Star Weekend in Phoenix, James said he planned to enter the 2010 contest but then eventually backed off. This year’s dunk contest is Feb. 19 in Los Angeles.
James noted that competing against the likes of Blake Griffin would be a challenge. “He’s already got the home-court advantage,” James said.
2012 Dunk Contest: LeBron Is A Tease
Instead of committing to his 2006 stance, Bron kept teasing the fans. This time via the Palm Beach Post.
“I have thought about it before and a few times in the past I kind of had an ankle injury that kind of kept me out of it and a couple of times I was just like, ‘You know what, I’m going to go in here and rest my legs for this weekend and then get back to the regular season,” James said, according to the Palm Beach Post.
“But, I mean, they say a lot of the greats have done it and I’ve watched it over the years.”
That’s far from a commitment.
James, who vowed in 2009 to enter the 2010 contest but then backed out, added, “I don’t know, I’ll be on the fence every year about it. It’s always a fence year for me. I know they’re getting tired of me, though, so I’m not even going to start up nothing.”
2012 Dunk Contest Aftermath: Big Money Pt. 1
After another crappy dunk contest, then commissioner David Stern contemplated putting up $1 million for the winner. This interested Blake Griffin and even LeBron: “”Then I’d reconsider,” he said “Wouldn’t you?” Well, yeah, but some fans took that as a slap to the face. He’d dunk for a million and not us? Let’s cry in our Kevin Durant body pillows.
2013 Dunk Contest Aftermath: The Trolling
Immediately after another dunk contest that nobody cared about, LeBron started staging pre game dunks in Miami. He was throwing the ball between his legs, dunking on teammates and reminding us that he probably could win the contest. But he still didn’t talk about entering.
2013 Dunk Contest Aftermath 2: Big Money Pt. 2
One former player was fed up with the BS. In March of 2013, Magic Johnson challenged LeBron James to compete in a dunk contest, offering to put up $1 million of his own bucks. Now, what’s good, Bron?
2014 Dunk Contest Hype Pt. 1: More Dunks
And here we are. More potential winners from Bron Bron and nothing to show for it. Damn, damn, damn, James.
2014 Dunk Contest Hype Pt. 2: Confidence
During a Dwyane Wade interview, LeBron piped in that he’d win the contest if he competed. So, now you’re just f*cking with us, huh?
2014 Dunk Contest Hype Pt. 2: Show-Off
The footage below has made the rounds this week. At a recent Miami practice, LBJ does more ridiculous dunks with his only audience being his Heat teammates and a few cameras.