There are certain people with a level of autonomy and authorship over their own lives that rivals on the obscene when compared to us mere key klackers and TV gawkers.
LeBron James is one of those people, he who gets the ‘puters putin’, the screens gleamin’ and the rims rattlin’.
My man could go down as the uncrowned dunk champion of his generation — uncrowned because he has never (and likely never will) compete in the one competition where dunkers are judged for that and that alone, the All-Star Dunk Contest.
Every dunker of legend has competed in the contest and has used their performances there, along with in-game highlights, to cement their place in that all-time pantheon, but Bron will not — why? Because of his autonomy and his authorship and of his mastery of the mediums available to him that weren’t to David Thompson, Dr. J, MJ or even Vince Carter.
Those guys and the others who separated themselves in basketball lore with dunking never had to be begged to compete in dunk contests, they also never had 100 camera phones in their practices and were thus able to put on exhibitions at random. LeBron can do this at his whim, without much effort and with a smile on his face the whole time.
The stresses of contests like the ’88 contest and the 2000 showcase don’t appeal to this guy, they’re beneath him, and that can cause some resentment, especially when he offers quotes like this, which reveal just how seriously he would take the competition if he’d ever engage it, but he won’t.
For LeBron, putting him in an NBA dunk contest would be little different than him competing in an eighth-grade dunk contest. Who else could make the Phoenix Suns’ practice court look like St. Ignatius’ gym/auditorium by flinging the ball with one hand, catching it literally wherever it rebounds off the wall and putting it down with the exact force his freakish body can exert by the laws of physics? Only he. He’d do it in the New Orleans Arena too.
So, we’re left with these mangled new rules, team scores and whatever… eh, it may be fun, but it’s also all that we can get, it’s what we’re left, it’s what the King wouldn’t deign himself with. Saturday night, he’ll take to his reserved seat in the NO and watch the pretenders to the throne among the rest of us, each one with each leap trying to just get a glimpse of the stitching on his upholstery.
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