LeBron James gets blamed for decline of Slam Dunk contest in scathing Stephen A. Smith rant

Lakers superstar LeBron James is arguably one of the greatest players of all-time, without a doubt. With multiple records and accolades to his name, the superstar has done it all and won it all, aside from the events at the NBA All-Star Weekend.

Following the conclusion of a very sub-par and lackluster All-Star Weekend and the various events surrounding it, famed NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith went on a rant, hailing the King’s absence as the reason for the event’s failure.

LeBron James held accountable for Slam Dunk contest’s depreciation

This year’s NBA Dunk Contest was one of the most highly speculated events, considering the event’s lack of superstar names and atrocious marking by the event’s judges. Many former NBA stars and analysts argued over why the NBA All-Star Weekend has come to where it currently is; a spectacle that no one wants to see.

LeBron James
LeBron James has never participated in the NBA Dunk Contest via USA Today Sports

The Dunk Contest, which features feats of high jumps and insane creativity, saw rather modest dunks this year, which made many fans feel that the event isn’t as fun as it used to be. Speculating on the event was none other than Stephen A. Smith, who blatantly called out LeBron James for the lack of success of the famed contest.

Smith argued that James was responsible for the decline of the Dunk Contest due to his lack of participation, which set the precedent for other superstars to not participate in the contest. Citing the examples of legends like Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant who have participated in the event, Smith argued that Bron did not follow suit, which eventually led to upcoming stars declining events in the contest.

LeBron James
James is known for his insane athleticism and finishing abilities, via Associated Press

Speaking to Kendrick Perkins and Shannon Sharpe, Stephen A. Smith said, “LeBron James is directly responsible for ruining the slam dunk contest… LeBron James refusing to participate… was the beginning and the spark plug of its demise. Period! There is no one who can dispute that.”

While Smith paid his respects to the superstar, he also implied that the King’s negligence in the event was done purposefully and with intent.

Gilbert Arenas defends LeBron James over Slam Dunk contest downfall

While Stephen A. Smith harshly criticized LeBron James’ lack of participation in the dunk contest, former NBA player and Lakers star Gilbert Arenas rushed to defend LeBron, suggesting that he was not to blame for the fall of the contest.

LeBron James
Gilbert Arenas defended the King via Zimbio

Arenas defended LeBron by saying that established superstars were never to be seen in the dunk contest. While players like Kobe and Tracy McGrady participated in the contest, Arenas argued that such players participated in the contest before they established themselves as superstars. According to Arenas, Lakers legend Kobe participated in the contest only in his rookie year before any expectations were heaped on him and ever since then, he has strayed away from the event.

Gilbert Arenas said, “When someone likes Stephen A. Smith says “Lebron ruined the dunk contest because he never entered”, the superstars before them did not enter. When he (Kobe) became a superstar, he didn’t enter the dunk contest. Tracy McGrady did not enter the Dunk Contest as a superstar, he wasn’t even a All-Star. There really hasn’t been superstars.”

While the reason for the contest’s decline in interest is up for debate, there is no denying the fact that all NBA fans would have loved to see LeBron James in a dunk contest at least once, especially due to the King’s undeniable reputation for vicious and menacing slams and jams.

Caleb Mathew

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Feel free to reach out to me at @calebmathewww on Instagram.


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