This weekend the NBA will take over Indianapolis for All-Star weekend. On Saturday night, the Slam Dunk contest will serve as the grand finale of the day two events at Lucas Oil Stadium. That got us thinking about NBA stars we’d love to see in Slam Dunk contest.

Before we crack into the list, let’s take a look at the modern landscape of the NBA dunk contest. The biggest complaint about the event is that the biggest names in basketball rarely participate. Why is that? Well, last year at this time, Front Office Sports dove into this exact subject. “The last time a player from that season’s All-Star Game actually participated in the Dunk Contest was in 2017, when the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan competed,” they said.

Front Office Sports went on to list a lack of creative options, scoring, and top players not participating in the dunk contest as reasons why the competition had declined. “I think they’re maybe afraid to lose,” NBA Hall of Famer, and slam dunk legend, Dominique Wilkins said via Front Office Sports. Of course, potential injury could also be considered.

Though there has been a lack of star power in the Slam Dunk contest, there have been a few shining moments as of late. Last season, there was much confusion as to why the NBA was allowing a G League (minor league) player to participate in Mac McClung. Now with the Orlando Magic franchise, McClung was called up by his then-team, the 76ers, a few days before the contest. He would go on to win and thrilling fashion. Furthermore, McClung is just six-foot-two.

This Year’s Slam Dunk Contest

The NBA Slam Dunk contest will often be associated with the likes of Wilkins and Michael Jordan. In the late ’80s, these legends made our jaws drop dunking the ball during all-star weekend. Sure, we have had Vince Carter and the late great Kobe Bryant go in it and win it. However, you can’t help but think about what might have been, if these stars had won. Some of them came close, while others opted out.

Nonetheless, we do have some surprising and well-received news when it comes to the 2024 contest. Jaylen Brown, one of the biggest stars in the game, is participating. He will compete against last year’s winner in McClung. In addition, Jacob Toppin from the Knicks and Jamie Jaquez. Jr of the Heat are in. Perhaps with Brown participating, we will begin to see the trend of more all-stars opting into this fan-favorite event in the future.

Here are five players we’d love to see do their thing in the NBA Slam Dunk contest.

  • Zion Williamson

    Now in his fourth season, you can’t help but feel like we’ve been Zion-deprived. Injuries doomed Williamson’s first three years. In fact, he’s only played in 114 games. However, as we’ve seen so far this year, Williamson is explosive. An electrifying dunk contest performance can allow us to quickly forget about the start of his NBA career.

     

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  • Ja Morant

    Speaking of high-flying ballers, Morant has a burst to his game that not many others (if any) have. Similar to Zion Williamson, the past year or two has been marred by outside distractions that have taken away from Morant’s game. Here’s to hoping his hoop game is back in focus. He can show us that been taking the next dunk contest by storm.

     

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  • Anthony Edwards

    Edwards has quickly established himself as one of the best young players in the game. He’s taking the Minnesota Timberwolves to levels that they have not been to since Kevin Garnett was in the building. It would be a great statement to enter the dunk contest at this stage of his career. To some degree, it would be similar timing to when Jordan and Wilkinson participated and won.

     

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  • Jalen Brunson

    Now, this might be a stretch only because Brunson is probably more suited for the three-point or skills contest. The Knicks guard is now an all-star and one of the most dynamic players in the game this season. In addition, he’s loved by the fans and the roaring support from the crowd always makes the dunk contest that much more of an entertaining experience. Finally, the Knicks could really use the spotlight.

     

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    A post shared by Jalen Brunson (@jalenbrunson1)

  • LeBron James

    King James may arguably be past the prime of his career when this opportunity would make sense. For years, fans wanted him in, and although it came close, James never jumped in. He certainly doesn’t need to do it. It just feels like the one thing he has not accomplished in the league. Kobe Bryant competed in the dunk contest in 1997. And he won.

     

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