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#pounditMonday, February 26, 2024

Stephen A. Smith makes big accusation about LeBron James

Stephen A Smith reports from the sideline

Dec 18, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith broadcasts before a game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest used to be an event where the biggest stars in basketball showcased their freak athleticism, but it has seen a significant drop-off in popularity since the 1980s and 1990s. Stephen A. Smith says LeBron James is responsible for that.

James has never competed in the Dunk Contest. He did not follow in the footsteps of fellow NBA legends like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter, who starred in the competition years ago.

During ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday, Smith said LeBron is “personally responsible” for the downward trend the Dunk Contest has experienced over the past two decades.

“There is one blemish that should be on LeBron James’ career — he has ruined the Slam Dunk Contest. He is personally responsible,” Smith said. “That’s right, I’m saying it. … LeBron James, who loves doing slam dunk shows on the layup line, who didn’t mind throwing down a few dunks (during the All-Star Game), has never participated in the Slam Dunk Contest.

“Since he made that decision, we’ve seen year after year after year the dissipation of stars participating in the Slam Dunk Contest.”

You can hear Smith’s full rant below:

Plenty of the NBA’s biggest stars have turned down the opportunity to partake in the Slam Dunk Contest. Dwyane Wade and Kevin Durant are two others who come to mind. Fans have also been clamoring to see Ja Morant — one of the NBA’s best in-game dunkers — in the event, and he addressed those questions once again over the weekend.

It is possible that LeBron has influenced some fellow stars to decline Dunk Competition invites due to injury concerns or for other reasons. Saying he is personally responsible for the downfall of the event seems a bit harsh, but this is Stephen A. Smith we are talking about.

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