The NBA released the field for the 2010 Dunk Contest earlier today, but the bigger news, at least to the media, was who wasn't on the list. Defending Champ Nate Robinson will take on former Cavalier/ current Laker Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace and the winner of a 'dunk-in' competition between Eric Gordon and DeMar DeRozan.
James had said last year he would compete this season yet once again decided against it. I wish people would understand that LeBron is not a dunker, and contests like this really don't interest him. LeBron does like to be courted, however, and like to be told how much he is wanted for something. He enjoys that attention. But he is smart enough to know that it is a no-win situation.
LeBron didn't come into the NBA as a high-flying scorer. There were no Nike commercials proclaiming "It's got to be the shoes" with LeBron dunking over Spike Lee. It was the opposite. Remember one of the early Nike spots to feature LeBron was a classic with the late-great Bernie Mac -
This is how LeBron came into the League - as a facilitator, a distributor. More Magic than Michael as the saying goes.
So then, why all the controversy surrounding LeBron and the Dunk contest? Magic was never in a Dunk contest - it wasn't his game, though he certainly could dunk the basketball.
The arguments for LeBron to participate are just silly - he's afraid of Nate Robinson, or he owe's it to the game of basketball.
First, Nate Robinson is one dimensional. He is a scorer - and he's amazing at it. He also isn't nearly as important to his team as LeBron is to the Cavaliers. Mike D'Antoni proved that by essentially giving Robinson the 'Marbury Treatment' earlier this season.
As for what LeBron 'owes' to the game, that's absurd. LeBron has done enough for the game, representing his country in the 2006 World Championships, then winning Gold in 2008 at the Olympics. Oh, and he sells out every arena in the NBA, regardless of the home team's record. Look it up, the Cavs are the #1 visiting draw in the NBA.'
You can criticize LeBron for the games he plays - saying he'll do it only to change his mind. Anything other argument for LeBron performing in a glorified exhibition are simply baseless.
LeBron James isn't Michael, he's not Magic, he's not Kobe - he's LeBron and I like him that way.