The basketball world has been calling for LeBron James to finally compete in the slam dunk competition, but he has yet to answer that call until now, or has he?
Over the past seven seasons, LeBron James has been turning heads and dominating Sportscenter's top ten with his aerial acrobatics, and at last years dunk competition he finally declared himself a contender for next years jump-off.
After all, shouldn't the 'King" of the NBA win at least some title since he has already been appointed to the thrown? But perhaps even before he can find himself among names such as Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and Dominique Wilkins, he must first accept the role which he has promised fans all around the world after last years competition. And herein lies the problem.
When asked earlier this month about competing in the slam dunk contest, LeBron had shifted in his stance on the matter, simply stating he was now "50/50" and that he simply got "caught up" in last years competition. Sounds like a change of heart, but why?
The answers are simple enough if you look into the life of the "King".
LeBron is an icon, not just for the city of Cleveland, but for the entire league. He represents the best the league has to offer, and if he were to go out and lose to Nate Robinson, a player who hasn't played in 14 straight this season, or any low end of the rotation guy, the image of greatness would be tarnished. There is too much at stake for LeBron to lose, and very little to gain from his and the league's perspective. Not only is LeBron skeptical, but surely the league and his organization is asking him to reconsider last years proclamation.
But perhaps LeBron tells the Cavaliers and the NBA not to worry, don't you think his endorsers will? How will Nike react when a commercial comes on with Nate Robinson wearing the new Adidas's as he dunks on a LeBron look-a-like in their new 30-second spot? There has to be company's lobbying at LeBron's door every morning for him to turn down the competition.
There was however a time when he could have claimed the title, but that time has past. Had he attempted early in his career, before the titles and comparisons to Jordan, James could have tried his luck and chalked a loss up to a rookie mistake, or blamed it on nerves getting the better of a 19-year-old boy.
But now he's 25 and considered a veteran in the league. Now he's King James and there is no way he can run the risk of being dethroned with no championship in his back pocket. There is just too much to lose with very little to gain at this point in his career. Politics once again rears its ugly head.