LeBron James told he is "personally responsible" for "ruining" NBA Slam Dunk contest

NBA superstar LeBron James has been accused of being ‘personally responsible’ for the decline in quality of the Dunk Contest on All-Star Weekend. The 38-year-old is a 19-time All-Star but has never taken part in one of the traditionally most anticipated events.

Last Saturday, Mac McClung won this year’s event after only participating in the G League this season, while competitors Trey Murphy III, Jericho Sims and Kenyon Martin Jr. are all not All-Stars, or even high profile names. McClung – a high school dunk specialist who has signed a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers – secured $100k in prize money for his epic performance.

Regardless, the Dunk Contest is a celebrated event in NBA lore. The competition used to feature many of the biggest stars in the sport, with future Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Dominique Wilkins among those to win the Slam Dunk Contest.

The 2000 contest was a high-profile battle between Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady which has become almost legend. However, Los Angeles Lakers star James has not continued the trend, deciding not to compete across any of his 20 years in the NBA.

READ MORE: Celtics star Tatum hails ‘role model’ team-mate that helped NBA rise

As a result, fellow big names like Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Dwyane Wade have also declined to participate. Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is known for his high-flying dunks in an NBA match, but even he is willing to let fans down by insisting last week he won’t take part in the competition – and sports personality Stephen A. Smith believes James is ‘personally responsible’ for the state of the Slam Dunk Contest.

“There is one blemish on LeBron James’ career and that is that he has ruined the slam dunk contest,” Smith said on ESPN. “He is personally responsible.

“Connie Hawkins, David Thompson, Doctor J, Dominique Wilkins, Michael Jordan all competed in the dunk contest. Kobe Bryant participated, Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady, Zach LaVine… all of these guys competed, but LeBron James, who loves slam dunking has never participated.

NBA announces new app with deepfake technology as fans staggered
NBA ace Bryn Forbes allegedly ‘left fiancé with black eyes’ in assault
Milwaukee Bucks sweating as NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo injured

“We get caught up and think about Jordan and Wilkins and all of these guys. They didn’t do it show off, they did it because they new an audience watching and clamouring for it and they participated in it, LeBron ignored that obligation.

“Since he ignored it, we have seen the dissipation of stars participation in the slam dunk. LeBron is the one responsible for that and it’s because of him that others thought it was okay to follow.”

As a result of James’ decision, the contest now rarely features household names, which is a shame for fans and figures around the NBA world. While Smith pinning the blame on the four-time MVP is likely harsh, others likely followed his lead in avoiding the highlight All-Star event.

source: express.co.uk