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Reports: Dunk contest field headlined by George, Wall, Lillard

Feb 6, 2014, 5:58 PM EDT

Paul George AP

We let you know last night that Damian Lillard said he was in for the dunk contest (and maybe much more).

He’s not the only star. Multiple reports (including Yahoo, CSNWashington.com and ESPN) have given us what we expect to be the six-man dunk contest field:

Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Terrence Ross (Toronto Raptors)
Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
Ben McLemore (Sacramento Kings)

The official announcement comes from TNT’s Inside the NBA at 7 ET, but you can bet on this being the six.

Some star power is back to the event — three guys from the All-Star Game are in the contest. Last year’s contest was filled with guys known for high flying dunks but not known to the casual fan and the event fell on its face for the most part. That is with all due respect to Ross, who won the event and is back to defend his crown.

George is your early favorite — he has competed in the contest before and that plus his popularity (don’t think that doesn’t factor into it) make him a tough guy to beat. Ross is a close second.

Here is a little taste of what to expect.

  1. calkinsrob - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    Excited for this. Hopefully this will be a good start for more known stars to participate in the dunk contest.

  2. lakerade - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    Love that this next generation of stars gives the fans what we want in entertainment. Take note Lebron, stop biebering us w your myopic self-view.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:19 PM

      If PG was ever as big as LeBron he wouldn’t be in the dunk contest either. He was close to not doing it as it is. But PG has a lot to gain by adding this crown to his resume – endorsements and exposure – what all of these guys are going after in the end. LeBron never had to worry about that so there was less incentive. More to lose than to gain.

      • bballhistorian - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:29 PM

        “More to lose than to gain”

        And what exactly is LeBron going to lose here???

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:42 PM

        You’re kidding, right? If he doesn’t win, he just loses – instantly. Twitter would explode.

        I doubt MJ would’ve participated in any dunk contests in this modern environment. He was much too worried about his image in the 80s, but back then there wasn’t this constant scrutiny and immediate feedback.

        MJ would be killed today on social media – on any media – if he robbed Nique like he did in 1988 because the contest was in Chicago. That just would not fly today.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:54 PM

        do you really think he could lose? He could do a granny dunk and he’d still win. The slam dunk contest is as much popularity contest as anything.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:13 PM

        Sure, anyone can lose or win the dunk contest – I think we’ve seen that much. If Jordan can lose a dunk contest certainly LeBron can. But the price you pay today as a big star who loses is higher than it was in the mid 80s when Jordan lost. This is probably why we don’t see superstars in the contest. If they do enter, it’s when they’re young and still looking for respect and notoriety. And if they win they have no interest in defending.

        But you bring up a good point about it being a popularity contest, and it would be worse for LeBron if he won and didn’t deserve it.

        I just don’t see anything for him to gain by winning (how can he get any bigger than he already is?) but would have to bear additional criticism for either losing or winning in an unacceptable way. There would be handwringing for a week about how it affects his legacy. He’s already overloaded in that department, yes? It just isn’t worth it for something so insignificant, imo.

      • casualcommenter - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:42 AM

        “do you really think he could lose? He could do a granny dunk and he’d still win. The slam dunk contest is as much popularity contest as anything.”

        For that reason, LeBron has nothing to gain.

        If he loses, everybody mocks him.
        If he wins, everybody will say it’s because he’s incredibly popular and some other guy should have won.

      • asimonetti88 - Feb 8, 2014 at 1:58 PM

        Jordan lost to Dominique Wilkins when he was in his second year. LeBron is in his 11th year, and there’s not going to be a Dominique Wilkins like star to compete with him. When’s the last time a star of LeBron’s size was in the dunk contest and didn’t win?

      • antistratfordian - Feb 8, 2014 at 5:22 PM

        It’s not about winning or losing – it’s that there isn’t anything to gain either way. You keep making that point – “a star that big isn’t going to lose. It’s a popularity contest.” That doesn’t help.

        And he doesn’t have to check off that box just because Michael Jordan did it…

        Plus, you know, because of l’internet we’ve all seen better dunks than you’re going to see in the dunk contest – far better dunks are always just a click away. The contest is dead. A format change isn’t going to bring it back. They should wrap it up like the Pro Bowl shelve it for a few years and see if anyone misses it.

        Or, they could take the format they’re using this year – where the fans just vote for the best individual dunker and not on any specific dunks – and take the vote during the all-star game.

  3. spursareold - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:16 PM

    This is the best field in YEARS. I might actually watch.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:21 PM

      Cmon… it’s like a Mayweather fight… you say you won’t watch but you always do and afterwards you vow never to watch another one… but there you are again.

  4. cantonbound13 - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:25 PM

    LeBron pansied out again. Keep building that fake legacy!

    • antistratfordian - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:20 PM

      Let’s be honest here: Haters like you have no interest in seeing LeBron in the dunk contest – you like attacking him every year for not participating. If he entered and won you’d say it was just a popularity contest – he didn’t deserve it. If he entered and lost you’d be on cloud nine.

      So the best thing for LeBron to do is to keep doing what he’s doing i.e. making people like you super salty while collecting hardware.

      • moseskkim - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:15 PM

        it would bring crazy intrigue to the dunk contest and the league if lebron participated. the floor is ah he lost oh well. some people gonna say how can he lose? who cares what they say? the ceiling is that he wins or does well and gains more popularity. brings life back to the dunk contest. casual fans watch. its something like nique and jordan. that popular sentiment of he wont gain anything either way is old and from some analyst. it can only help him and the league.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 8, 2014 at 5:36 PM

        There’s only so much “crazy intrigue” you can bring to any dunk contest these days. It’s seen too much. The only thing left to do are endless gimmicks. Prime Michael Jordan couldn’t even save the contest today – he could jump from the free throw line 10 times and the crowd would yawn each time.

        IMO, it helps LeBron’s legacy more to avoid it – to walk his own path – as there are already too many Jordan wannabes who think you have to do it because he did it. And it’s a worthy goal – the contest doesn’t deserve better treatment. And LeBron will go down as one of the greatest dunkers in history with or without the dunk contest.

    • ranfan12 - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:41 PM

      don’t need to dunk contest to have a legitimate legacy >_>

      more important things to focus on

      • casualcommenter - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:48 AM

        Yeah, nobody even moderately intelligent thinks a slam dunk contest counts towards a Hall of Fame legacy.

        Magic Johnson never did it, but somehow, most people would say he has a pretty good legacy.

    • casualcommenter - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:46 AM

      Carmelo Anthony should try the dunk contest.
      Realistically, that’s the best shot he has of winning anything even somewhat meaningful this year given how terrible the Knicks are.

  5. noleitup - Feb 6, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    I cant remeber the last time I was this excited about a dunk contest.

  6. dolphindubs - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:34 PM

    Good group this year. Most of the time I watch the dunk contest with a blahhh! attitude, just watch it to watch it. But I’m looking forward to it this year with these guys participating

  7. bjswoosh805 - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Yes!! wha an amazing line up this is and thank you Dunk Gods for answering my prayers. oh and watch out for Ben McLemore reppin’ Sactown, i assume Rudy wil be giving him some tips being a highflyer himself.

  8. jbeagles23 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:01 PM

    Let be honest. T Ross is going to win. Anyone see the practice between the leg alley oop off the backboard stand he did

  9. golfrangeman - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:50 PM

    There’s cantonbound obsessing over lebron. One of these days we’ll be reading about some nut job down in Miami stalking Lebron,goes by the name cantonbound

    • casualcommenter - Feb 7, 2014 at 1:51 AM

      Issue with him is that he’s a Knicks troll who spent all of last season insisting the Knicks were built to beat the Heat in the playoffs.

      The Knicks, of course, barely beat a depleted Celtics team in the first round before losing to the Pacers in last year’s playoffs. After that second round exit, the Knicks then made terrible offseason personnel moves and got worse this year, and Carmelo Anthony is thinking about leaving for Chicago.

      Suffice to say, he’s not reacting well to the fact that the Knicks are going to be pretty bad for the next couple of years.

  10. canadatude - Feb 7, 2014 at 7:30 AM

    When a writer starts a sentence “with all due respect to Terence Ross”, he shows him no respect at all. Like most events in pro sports, this will just become another popularity contest.
    He shows a highlight reel of his personal choice. Has he seen Ross’ dunk over Farried, who is one of the best rim defenders in the league? Easy to dunk on a fast break with no one in your face.

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