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Slam duck

Posted by Christopher L. Gasper, Globe Staff  January 18, 2010 02:25 PM

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That's what LeBron James did to the NBA's 2010 Slam Dunk contest. The field for the dunkfest was announced today and it doesn't include the King, who pledged during last year's contest that he would be taking part in this year's slam 'n jam in Dallas during All-Star weekend.

It's not a huge surprise that LeBron did a 180 and passed on the dunk contest, as he had wavered on his proclamation in recent weeks, but it is a huge disappointment. James owed it to the fans to compete in the contest at least once, which he hasn't done in his NBA career. His presence in the event likely would have stirred other big names like Dwight Howard and Josh Smith to compete again and given us the most star power since the 2000 contest had Vince Carter, Tracy McGrady and Steve Francis.

If the dunk contest was good enough for Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, Carter, McGrady, Amare Stoudemire and Kobe Bryant why does LeBron feel he is above it?

Instead, he should be showcasing his skills above the rim and giving back to the game by honoring his high-flying forerunners. He could just do it once and get it out of the way.

Maybe, LeBron just feels he has had enough slam dunk ignominy in the last year. If he lost the dunk contest, he couldn't have Nike confiscate the video like he did when he got dunked on by Xavier University's Jordan Crawford over the summer at his own camp.

Whatever his reasoning, ducking the dunk contest is one move LeBron has perfected. Here's hoping we see him at the 2011 contest in Los Angeles. 
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The word

Christopher L. Gasper riffs on the news


...That's what the Patriots have when it comes to picks in the 2013 NFL Draft, which starts Thursday. After all those years of stockpiling picks the way a survivalist does non-perishables the Patriots have just five picks in this year's draft, thanks to Band-aid trades for Albert Haynesworth, Chad Ochocinco and Aqib Talib. Five picks would be the fewest draft picks in franchise history. (Part of that is attributable to the trimming of the draft to just seven rounds in 1994). Further complicating matters is that two of the Patriots' greatest needs are at wide receiver and cornerback, positions where they have sustained draft droughts. With that in mind, I'm convinced the Patriots are going trade back out of the first round of a quanity-over-quality draft where you're just as likely to pick a Pro Bowl player in the second and third round as you are in the first round.

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