Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has checked virtually every box imaginable during his basketball career, but one thing missing from his resume is an NBA Slam Dunk Contest crown.
The 38-year-old has never participated in the event, and he recently explained why.
“I don’t think it was something I wanted to accomplish in my career; it’s not a goal of mine and it never was coming into the NBA to be a part of the Dunk Contest, you know?” James told Bally Sports. “Making the NBA All-Star Team was, being the league MVP, winning Defensive Player of the Year, winning NBA Championships…? Those were some goals of mine. The NBA Dunk Contest was never a goal of mine so, it wasn’t something that I had too much passion for.”
Although it’s unlikely that James will change his mind about participating in the Slam Dunk Contest at this stage of his career, he has certainly given fans some special memories at All-Star Weekend over the years.
He has earned 19 All-Star selections during his legendary career, winning All-Star MVP honors on three occasions. Across his 19 All-Star Game appearances, he has averaged 22.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game.
Even as James plays through the sunset years of his career, he’s still a perennial All-Star, and he’ll have a chance next season (assuming he returns) to become the first 20-time All-Star in NBA history.
While individual honors are nice, James is certainly more focused on NBA titles at this point. He has four to his name and would undoubtedly love to add a fifth, a goal that he fell short of accomplishing with the Lakers this season.
The good news is that Los Angeles seemingly learned a lot about its roster during its run to the 2023 Western Conference Finals, so the organization should be able to put a contending team on the floor in the 2023-24 campaign.
Basketball fans love the Slam Dunk Contest, but it’s easy to understand James’ perspective on it. If it’s any consolation, the future Hall of Famer has certainly given fans some memorable in-game dunks over the years.
James will turn 39 during the 2023-24 NBA season. By now, it’s become clear that his days in the league are winding down, so plenty of folks are certainly looking to appreciate what’s left of his iconic career before it ends.
When James finally does retire, NBA fans aren’t going to be able to use the Slam Dunk Contest as a reason to remember him, but there are plenty of others, and in all likelihood, he isn’t done creating unforgettable NBA memories just yet.