There is absolutely no reason why NBA superstars no longer compete in the annual slam dunk contest. Remember when Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins battled it out? What about other dunking stars of that era, such as Clyde Drexler and Julius “Dr. J” Erving? Later on, Vince Carter and even Kobe Bryant participated. Those were the days when everyone watched the dunk contest, when it mattered. Now things are different. Today’s superstars “don’t have time” for the dunk contest. Maybe that’s why the fans don’t have time for it anymore, either. If players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant were among the 2013 NBA slam dunk contest participants, it would be a smashing hit like it used to be.
The reason why these players won’t participate like their idols before them is a simple one: fear. They’re afraid they’ll lose, which apparently is reason enough not to try these days. Did losing to Wilkins in 1985 stop Jordan from coming back after an injury and taking the title two years later? Heck no because Jordan always welcomed a challenge.
James and Durant’s agents advise them not to participate in the dunk contest because it might hurt their image if they lose. The fact both players have lost in the NBA Finals at least once in their young careers apparently doesn’t matter just like Blake Griffin‘s instant rise to stardom when he won the 2011 dunk contest.
The fans no longer care for the dunk contest because they have to Google the participants and that’s no fun. The NBA’s product becomes less valuable with each passing year in which the stars don’t show and it doesn’t appear that’s going to change anytime soon.