LeBron James in unquestionably one of the most violent dunkers in the game today, and could easily compete with anyone in the league in a slam dunk contest if that’s something he wanted to do. But up until this point, despite empty promises and a tease from time to time, he hasn’t decided to commit.
At All-Star media availability in Orlando on Friday, I was able to ask James why he hasn’t chosen to participate. And as much as fans may not like the answer, with LeBron now in his ninth season, it’s not an answer he’s likely to change at any point in the future … unless, of course, first prize was $1 million.
“It’s just not me, I’m not a dunk contest type of guy,” James said. “I’m an in-game dunker. I kind of improvise during the game. But, I don’t know. I’m not for scoreboards and all that type of stuff.”
But if they offered the winner a million dollars?
“Then I’d reconsider,” he said. “Wouldn’t you?”
Nikola Vucevic hits fade-away game winner for Magic against Hawks
We know Stephen Curry — who spent many of his formative years in Charlotte and still thinks of the city as his hometown — is all in on the Carolina Panthers today against the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 30.
“I don’t know if I quite got a prediction but I definitely want to see a great Super Bowl,” James said in the video. “But if it was a life and death situation and I had to choose one team and one player, I got to go with Killah Cam. Got to go with the Carolina Panthers, they’ve been playing the most consistent football all year round. Both offensively, defensively and special teams. Got to go with Cam and one of my boys plays for them too as well, Ted Ginn Jr., that’s been showing out all year as well.
“No disrespect to the Broncos. I love their team. They got the legend at quarterback, they got that defense that’s out of control. They got some receivers that be balling out as well. They’re really well coached as well and that’s the reason they are in the Super Bowl. But I’m rolling with the Carolina Panthers today.”
A lot of NBA players like the way Cam Newton plays — with exuberance, wearing his heart on his sleeve, dancing and celebrating. That’s how Curry and LeBron and other NBA players want to play their game, and they feel reined in by the league. They relate to Cam Newton and the ridiculous role model/celebration debate.
We’ll see how much celebrating the Denver defense lets Newton do.
Kevin Durant on Warriors, Spurs: “We’re not scared of neither one of those teams”
We’d seen this movie before. Against the San Antonio Spurs. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Golden State Warriors offensive machine got cranked up, dropped 73 on Oklahoma City in the first half, led by 14 at the break, and it was about to turn into another rout, and another statement win for the Warriors.
After the game Durant would have none of any moral victory talk — even though it was — and he said the Thunder were not intimidated by the Warriors or anyone else, via Royce Young of Oklahoma City.
“That’s what we’re supposed to do,” Durant said of the comeback. “When we get down, we’re supposed to tie the game up. No moral victories in here…
“Man, we’re not scared of neither one of those teams,” Durant said, including the Spurs. “We’re going to play our game. Nobody in this locker room is scared. We gotta play ’em. If we want to get to where we want to get to, we gotta play ’em. We’re not ducking nobody.”
The NBA isn’t professional boxing; nobody gets to duck anybody.
But a Thunder team searching for respect gained a measure Saturday night. The Thunder picture themselves contenders and for much of the season listened to talking heads (myself included) say the Warriors and Spurs are in a different class. Saturday night was a step in showing that they belonged. There are still questions about how Golden State or San Antonio could exploit players such as Dion Waiters or Enes Kanter is a seven-game series, but the Thunder have two of the league’s top five players — they can beat and hang with anyone.
They have a shot at a title.
If Durant believes that, it would impact his decision this summer, but that is another discussion.
Watch Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant trade shots Saturday night