Pacers wing Paul George made quite a leap in play last season, winning the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award. But this season, he’s been even more spectacular, leading the Pacers to the best record in the league (32-7) while averaging a career-high 23.2 PPG and shooting a career-high 46 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range. Just two years ago he had to appeal to the NBA to get into the Dunk Contest. This year, they’re asking him to participate.
Since George is currently second in All-Star ballots — by a wide margin — among Eastern Conference frontcourt players, he’ll likely be starting in the main event on Sunday. But since All-Star Weekend is such a frenzied environment, he elected not to participate in the Dunk Contest this year, reports USA Today‘s Candace Buckner.
On Saturday night, George said that he declined an invitation by the league to compete in this year’s Slam Dunk Contest in New Orleans.
“Exactly, I don’t want to add to it by doing extra stuff,” George said, responding to a comment that rest rarely happens during hectic All-Star weekends.
Besides rest, and the Sunday showcase, George has a poor memory of the 2012 Contest. Upon his return from the 2012 All-Star Weekend, he told the Indianapolis Star (by way of USA Today), “(Not to) take nothing away from the dunk contest, [but] it was a joke. I guess whoever had the biggest celebrity involved in their dunk was going to be the winner. I guess I should have tried to reach out to some people.”
George’s 360-degree windmill dunk during the game against the Clippers on Saturday night might be better than any dunk in the increasingly underwhelming contest, so at least we got that. But we don’t blame George or any other actual All-Star from failing to participate. It’s a long weekend, and the Dunk Contest has become a lot less of an event in the last few years.
What do you think?
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