Why the biggest All-Stars shy away from NBA Dunk-Contest

Published On March 5, 2013 | By Hung Vong

The NBA All-Star weekend flew by weeks ago. And in another 50 or so weeks from now, another Slam Dunk Contest will take place, probably without the game’s perennial candidates vying to be the nation’s top sky walker.

The 2013 roster did not feature the likes of Lebron James, or Kevin Durant. And when was the last time Carmelo Anthony participated in a dunk contest? The All-Star Weekend will more likely turn into an All-Star Bust if the sport’s best won’t compete.

Fans are better treated to rare dunks by the Black Mamba. Look no further than Kobe Bryant taking advantage of Atlanta Hawks’ Josh Smith’s poor positioning and making a dunk that drew loud cheers from the crowd and announcers on Sunday. The 34-year-old still has it within him. After all, Bryant did take home the Slam Dunk crown once. That was in 1997.

Perhaps monetary incentive has something to do with it. Or from a health standpoint, why risk injury over one weekend when there are far more important, playoff placement games to be had?

The NBA currently pays $100,000 to the winner and $50,000 to the runner-up, according to ESPN. The best players in the NBA make much more from endorsements and contracts. Their stocks remain high if they can keep playing at a high level.

Last week, Magic Johnson made a $1 million offer to Lebron James if he would compete in the next All-Star Dunk Contest, provided that he wins it. On ESPN’s “Kia NBA Countdown” on Friday, Johnson reached out to James.

“”Please, LeBron, get in the dunk contest. I’m going to put up a million dollars,” Johnson said. “A million dollars from Magic to LeBron. Please get in the dunk contest. I go every year. I want to see you out there. A million to the winner.”

The three-time NBA MVP told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that he considered participating every year. Since being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003, he’s still considering.

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