NEW YORK – The list of accomplishments a dozen seasons into his career is longer than LeBron James’ arm — two NBA championships, five trips to The Finals, four MVP awards.
But not one time in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.
“When I first came into the league, I expected that I would do it,” James said at Friday’s All-Star Weekend media day. “I did. I did for sure. But it just never happened. I don’t know why. There was times when I wanted to do it and didn’t do it and there was times when I just didn’t really care about it too much. But it definitely would have been pretty cool to do.”
Two-time Slam Dunk champion (1985 and ’90) Dominique Wilkins, who squared off against Michael Jordan and every other big name of his day, doesn’t criticize today’s marquee stars. But Wilkins does admit that he doesn’t understand their reluctance to participate in the event.
“I really don’t know the answer,” Wilkins said. “I think guys just really don’t want to know who the best is. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I can’t think of any other reason why they don’t want to get in.
“We wanted to go head up with one another, we really did. We went head up with the greatest athletes in the league at that time.
“Everybody’s got their own reasons for not doing it. What those reasons are, I don’t know.
“If I had my pick of guys I’d like to see, I would say (Blake) Griffin, LeBron, John Wall, who did a nice job last year. If you had those three alone, that would be a great dunk contest.”
Wilkins said his philosophy was always about keeping it simple.
“This is what I think about the dunk contest: you get a pair of sneakers, a basketball and you go out there and show what you got,” he said. “Forget the props and all that stuff … That’s what we did.
“Don’t try to save your best dunks for later. You come out strong and you make a statement at the very beginning. So even if the dunks you make after that might not be that good, people will think that they’re good.
“My philosophy has always been come out strong in the early rounds. Because if you try to save it you end up getting eliminated because you’re saving stuff for later.”