January 19, 2010 by Matt Musico
An article posted today by Chris Sheridan on ESPN.com regarding this year’s 2010 Dunk Contest was interesting because it told me two separate things about some of the NBA’s most popular players: probably a good amount of them don’t know anything about their own collective bargaining agreement, and some make promises that they know they’ll never keep.
First, let’s talk about Nate Robinson and his inability to know his rights as a player in the National Basketball Association. Robinson won the Dunk Contest in 2009 for the second time in his career (his first title came in 2006). He made it known that he really didn’t want to come back and compete in the contest again next month in Dallas, but he was doing it because it’s in the “rulebook” that champions from both the Dunk Contest and 3-Point Shooting Contest from the previous year are required to come back the next year to defend their title.
NBA Spokesman Mark Broussard then stated that Robinson’s statement was wrong; since he won the event last year, the League asked Robinson if he wanted to come back and defend his title, and he agreed to participate. Only players that are selected to either the All-Star Game or the Rookie-Sophomore Game are required to take part in the activities of All-Star Saturday through the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, the Dunk Contest is one event that the NBA can’t force any players to participate in. So, if Nate Robinson didn’t want to defend his title, he really didn’t have to, but he wouldn’t know that because he doesn’t know anything about the Collective Bargaining Agreement…the agreement that directly affects his profession.
The other issue tackled by Sheridan in his article was how LeBron James is once again not participating in the Dunk Contest. This is very upsetting to a lot of fans since LeBron publicly stated that he was “preliminarily” putting his name into the pool for the 2010 contest back in 2009. Apparently, the word “preliminarily” was the loophole that James will use when he explains why he’s not participating. This is really a shame because the Dunk Contest used to be a prime time event that every NBA superstar participated in. Now, the most famous basketball players avoid the Dunk Contest like the plague.
LeBron has cited in the past that he doesn’t want to risk injury by doing a bunch of fancy dunks. If he was really that worried about hurting himself in basketball activities that don’t count for anything, then he would also sit out the All-Star Game as well. The fact that he put most NBA fans into complete euphoria last year by stating that he would participate in 2010. I am absolutely convinced that LeBron only said that he would participate because it would bring attention to himself, even though deep down he knew all along the he never would. The only way to bring legitimacy back to the NBA Dunk Contest is for LeBron to man up and participate, because we all know that if King James does it, the other basketball superstars will follow suit.
Come on LeBron!!! Do us all a favor and participate in the Dunk Contest soon, we want to see all of the best dunkers in the NBA compete against each other in one year.