LeBron James Only '50-50' for Dunk Contest
James told reporters before the Cavs win over Phoenix Wednesday night that he was "50-50 right now." James cited the exhibition's props and circus-like antics as part of the reason for his hesitance. But unless James wants to further damage his public relations capital before the biggest summer of his financial life, he needs to man up and throw it down.
James has had a series of PR misfires over the last several months, beginning with his refusal to shake hands with the Magic after they eliminated him in the playoffs, then skipping his post-game media obligations and leaving his teammates to answer for Cleveland's loss. From there, his MVP shirt seemed a little ego-centric, and that was followed by the Cavs' sluggish start to this season and the ridiculous "retire 23" movement he began. This is all on top of the constant distraction surrounding his free agency future this summer.
To remove himself from the dunk contest would be too much, though.
James has the capacity to legitimately take the Dunk Contest to the next level. If Dwight Howard was Dominique Wilkins, putting the contest back on the map, then James has the potential to be Michael Jordan, forever stamping his name not only on the contest but also on the sport in a way that will endure.
If, of course, he can come up with something that's original, which is the challenge he's currently wrestling with.
Even if James can't accomplish anything radical, it's still important that he participates. To back out now would damage his public reputation even more so than his previous missteps in what is a very delicate time for his career. It's a huge opportunity for James, even if it is a meaningless dunk contest. One slam means a lot.