NBA

NBA Slam Dunk Contest: Zion Williamson leaves door open for potential appearance in event: ‘You never know’

One of the league’s brightest young stars could potentially participate in the 2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest, set to take place on March 7 at halftime of the All-Star Game. When asked if he was going to show his stuff in the dunk contest, New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson left the door open for an appearance. 

“Who knows? That’s all I can say,” Williamson said. “Who knows? I might. You never know.” 

Williamson will already be in Atlanta for the event, as he was named to his first All-Star team as a reserve selection earlier this week, so logistically it would work. Plus, it’s safe to say that the league — and fans — would love to have a big-name player like Williamson headlining the annual event, which has lacked star-power in recent years. Stars like Michael Jordan (1987, 1988) and Kobe Bryant (1997) won the event in the past, and the league likely wouldn’t mind adding another well-known name, like Williamson, to the list. 

Given his explosion and athleticism, Williamson would have a solid shot at winning the contest, should he participate. On the season, he’s ninth in the NBA with 58 dunks. With the All-Star break rapidly approaching, Williamson will have to decide in the coming days if he does actually want to participate. 

While Williamson might participate, a former champion of the event has decided not to. Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who was also selected to his first All-Star team as a reserve, made it clear that he wouldn’t be looking to reclaim the crown. 

“Last year I was thinking about doing it, especially because it was in Chicago,” LaVine said of the contest, via The Chicago Tribune. “But I’m a little bit past that now and we’ve got a lot of games left. I don’t want to lose my legs.”  

Portland’s Derrick Jones Jr. won the event last year after defeating Orlando’s Aaron Gordon in epic fashion in the final round, and he’ll likely want to defend the title, although he hasn’t said so publicly. The full list of participants for the Slam Dunk Contest, along with the other All-Star events, should be released in the coming days. 



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