LeBron James was 'very close' to participating in Slam Dunk Contest

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By Ben Golliver

LeBron James' all-talk, no-walk approach to the Slam Dunk Contest has aggravated basketball fans for years.

Here is one of the game's biggest stars, a sensational dunker, a man with power, speed, hang time, a man who has jumped over an opponent to complete an alley-oop during a game, a man who throws down lob after lob in game after game. Here, too, is a man who, back in 2009, "preliminarily" said that he would participate in the 2010 Slam Dunk Contest, only to later back out. (Cue booing crowd noise sound effects.)

In an interview with former teammate Damon Jones arranged by Nike Basketball, James kept the flirtation going, claiming that he nearly participated in this year's contest. 

"I was very close," he said. "I was very close to getting into the dunk contest, man. For me, I've always been an in-game dunker, man. When you've got to be in the dunk contest, you've got to be creative, figure out ways to do something that no one has done in the dunk contest. I couldn't figure that out. I couldn't figure that out. I was entertained by being in the three-point contest, too."

The comments start at the 2:15 mark in the video above.

Instead, James watched from the sidelines as Raptors rookie Terrence Ross took home the 2013 Slam Dunk Contest title in Houston, defeating a field that included Jeremy Evans, Gerald Green and James White, but which lacked true star power.

His absence was expected but it was made more frustrating when footage emerged of James throwing down a ridiculous pre-game dunk, one featuring a through-the-legs pass off-the-backboard. James really doesn't believe he's creative enough?

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Video via YouTube user nikebasketball | Hat tip: Reddit's Buurhista