NBA Dunk Contest Separates LeBron James, Michael Jordan

By Shane Phillips
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Between the two of them, Michael Jordan and LeBron James have enough awards, hardware and accolades to fill the front of hundreds of refrigerators. After we count the NBA MVP awards, Finals MVP awards, All-Star Game Selections, First-Team All-NBA awards — actually, there’s just too much to count; there is one award, one event that separates two of the game’s greatest, however. That difference is not the number of championships, but the revitalized dunk contest.

Recently, the dunk contest had lost popularity amongst the basketball universe. With a lack of stars and big names volunteering to compete, the competition slowly lost the intensity and excitement it once harnessed. Of course, fans have begged and pleated with James to compete and return honor to the once prominent contest. However, year after boring year, James has said “no” to the thought of the dunk contest.

Well, isn’t it interesting that James won’t compete in the simplistic contest, but he wants, demands to be considered amongst the NBA’s greats. The word “greats” includes former dunk contest winners Julius Irving, Dominique Wilkins and Kobe Bryant. There is one other incredibly important name I forgot about it. Who is that famous player who won six titles with the Chicago Bulls? Oh, that’s right! Michael Jordan himself won two dunk competitions.

Honestly, I find it a bit disrespectful that James won’t compete in the dunk contest, but instead makes fun of it. Over the 30-plus-year history of the competition, many big names and even Hall of Famers have taken part. I can’t seem to understand why James will not take the time to compete in it just one time. Even the egotistical Dwight Howard took the the time to compete not once, but twice!

To be brutally frank, James will never add up to Jordan if he does not bother to do the little things. Of course, the dunk contest is a measly award, but it is the bragging rights and the thought that counts. Also, it kind of finds a soft spot in the fans’ hearts that a star player would take the time to compete in a silly competition for their amusement. Some public damage control might be good for James, who isn’t exactly well-liked throughout the fan community.

Finally, I will end with some words of advice to James. Instead of running your mouth in interviews about how you want to be on basketball’s Mount Rushmore and how you want to be mentioned in the top-four players of all time, prove it! Prove to yourself and to the basketball public that you are worthy of such high regards. That means doing it all. From winning MVP awards and championships to the dunk contest, it all matters in the end. Want the world to mention your name in the same sentence as Jordan? Then win a couple more titles and a dunk contest or two.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at

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