LeBron James really needs to put his airborne acrobatics where his mouth is.
In the Miami Heat superstar's latest attempt to toy with fans' emotions, the Miami Herald's Joseph Goodman says James once again indulged dunk-contest scenarios:
So you're saying you'll participate then, LeBron? Everyone likes to win. Since winning is a foregone conclusion, you're going to give fans the NBA All-Star Weekend treat you've deprived them of for more than a decade, right?
"I'm not against it," James said of the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest, per Bleacher Report's Ethan Skolnick. "I just don't want to do it. Do I have to be against something because I don't want to do it?"
Traditionally, that's how it works. But if he's not against it, and he's guaranteed to win, why won't he do it?
"I don't know," James admitted. "I don't know."
Well, that settles it. James doesn't know. It is what it is.
Two years ago, it was something else. When asked about his refusal to partake in the dunk contest in February 2012, James was a bit more, shall we say, inclined to explain himself.
"Why don’t you take a poll and see if you think I have more to lose than gain?” James asked ESPN's Brian Windhorst in February 2012.
Now there's some substance we can work with. Despite James' confidence, winning doesn't do much for his reputation—not when you consider what would happen if he loses.
After 10-plus years of anticipation, whatever James does will be a letdown, even if he wins. Five or so years ago, maybe his performance lives up to fan-foisted hype. Not now, however.
Fans and pundits have seen it all, raising the standards of what would be expected from James. Blake Griffin cleared a sedan in 2011; James would have to hurtle an aircraft used in the theoretical deportation of Justin Bieber for his participation to mean anything.
"I think if [he] did get in it, people would expect him to jump off an airplane," Dwyane Wade said, via Windhorst. "The expectation is so high that it might be a small letdown as well. The man can fly, but Blake Griffin jumped over cars, so LeBron James has to jump over something else."
While completely understandable, it's comments like "I'd win" that get us.
Prove it, LeBron. Show the world how you would win.
"The window has passed from that standpoint," Wade said of James brightening All-Star Weekend.
All right, Wade. We get it. Just let James know the offer still stands if he ever feels like taking his off-ground exploits outside practice and actual games.