LeBron James has never competed in the NBA's All-Star Weekend dunk contest. The dunk-off used to be a rite of passage for all budding stars. Michael Jordan, of course, won the contest twice and Kobe Bryant beat the most hilarious field ever in 1997. (Darvin Ham, Chris Carr, Michael Finley, Ray Allen (!) and Bobby Sura were the other contestants. Seriously.)
But King James has avoided the contest for whatever reason, despite pleading from fans and, no doubt, Secaucas. There is buzz that he, in a PR move, could change his mind and enter this season as All-Star Weekend pops up in Los Angeles in February.
The problem: Blake Griffin is L.A.'s new golden boy, and he'll likely be in the dunk-off. That makes LeBron nervous.
James noted that competing against the likes of Blake Griffin would be a challenge and says, "he's already got the home court advantage."
In complete seriousness, that's a good reason to decline an invite. As I noted, Kobe competed against Darvin Ham and Chris Carr. Griffin is a bit more of a challenge. Certainly, King James is not granted a victory by showing up, and it might be a bit embarrassing to fail to win a contest Nate Robinson has captured three times.
But LeBron has already been accused of being a wimp for joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami; shirking from a rookie in the dunk contest can only further that reputation. So while I think calling James a wuss for having the audacity to upgrade his supporting cast and climate is idiotic, I also love entertainment and recognize that LeBron vs. Blake could be a dunk-off for the ages. So, hey, LeBron ... don't be a wuss.