Donovan Mitchell: I’ll ‘for sure’ compete again in dunk contest

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In the last 25 years, four players won the dunk contest then played in their first All-Star game: Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Blake Griffin and John Wall. None returned to the dunk contest.

Donovan Mitchell, who won last year’s dunk contest, isn’t a lock to become an All-Star. But he’s on that track.

Does that mean he’s finished with the dunk contest?

Mitchell, in a Q&A with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:

Will you compete in the dunk contest again? I know you didn’t enter it this year because you didn’t want to be tired for the second half of the season as you fight for playoff positioning. But will we ever see you in the dunk contest again?

DM: Yes. For sure. I don’t know if it’s going to be next year, I don’t know if it’s going to be the year after that, but I am going to do it again.

It’s cool Mitchell wants to return to the dunk contest. That’s the type of joyous competitiveness that endears him to fans.

But I’m skeptical. The history of rising stars trying to defend their dunk-contest titles is overwhelming: They don’t. Mitchell could reach a stature where people around him will advise him to skip the dunk contest. He’s already won it. It won’t be a place for him to raise his profile.

I also don’t have a hankering for him to compete again. He had the best overall performance last year, but he produced no memorable dunks (though a couple memorable costume changes). I care far more about the very best dunk-contest dunks than a player’s consistency in the contest.

If Mitchell still wants to compete in the dunk contest next year or some future season, great. It’d be fascinating to watch him buck the trend.

But if all goes well with his playing career, I wouldn’t count on it.