Zion can give All-Star Sunday some needed buzz
With the NBA going all-in on an All-Star Game and its other marquee events on March 7 in the midst of a pandemic, the league understandably has found garnering participants more problematic than usual.
Players are eager to spend the All-Star break with friends and family. This year, the enticement to travel to Atlanta for the competition is extremely limited if one isn’t already going as an All-Star.
Most players notified the league months ago that they wouldn’t participate in any All-Star events if they were not named to the All-Star team.
The buzz hasn’t been there for this year’s All-Star Sunday, especially considering how many star players, such as superstars LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, have voiced their objection with there even being a game.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson could provide some buzz to the Slam Dunk Contest on Sunday. (Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Anthony Edwards turned down Dunk Contest offer
The NBA has commitments from Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons, New York Knicks rookie Obi Toppin and Indiana Pacers rookie Cassius Stanley. Each are young, athletic talents but lacking tune-in appeal.
The league tried to add high-profile names. Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards — who recently had one of the most jaw-dropping dunks you’ll ever witness — turned down the league’s request to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
A field with Williamson and Edwards would have certainly made for must-see TV.
Boston Celtics star Jaylen Brown and Charlotte Hornets high-flyer Miles Bridges declined as well, sources said.
Established candidates who had previously stated they would bypass the event are Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon and Portland Trail Blazers forward Derrick Jones Jr.
The Slam Dunk Contest will take place at halftime, while the 3-Point Contest and Skills Challenge will be held prior to the All-Star Game.
Stephen Curry expected to participate in 3-Point Contest
The 3-Point Contest will be comprised of mostly players who are All-Stars as Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is expected to participate, sources said.
Charlotte Hornets rookie sensation LaMelo Ball turned down an invitation to participate in the Skills Challenge, sources said. With no Rising Stars Game this year, Ball’s presence was a long shot.
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