King James himself has some regret over never participating in the closing event of All-Star Saturday.
During a chat with former teammate and NBA TV guest correspondent Dwyane Wade, James said it was tough watching the events because he knew he could have put on a show in them.
"It's been some years where I said I was going to do it and didn't do it," James said (via Pro Basketball Talk's Dan Feldman). "And then actually watching the dunk contest, I was mad at myself, because I believe it would have been great."
Oh, it would have been great. There's no doubt about that.
James is one of the best in-game dunkers the league has ever seen. A 6'8", 250-pound freight train, he can pulverize with power or float through the air with effortless grace.
He's almost solely responsible for keeping the poster-printing industry alive. His career highlight reel has just been spinning in perpetual motion.
James has some monster in-game jams that could draw some respectable scores from the contest's judges. And he showed last season he can work some magic during practice.
But despite all of this—the obvious ability, the occasional regret—he's not going to suddenly suit up now.
"At this point, I'm over the hill now," James told Wade. "You ain't going to see me no time soon. It's over with."
It's hardly a surprising admission. If James was ever going to participate, he would've done it years ago.
This is his 12th season in the league. He's nearly played another two seasons in playoff games alone (158). He has played with Team USA in the Olympics three times.
That's a ton of mileage, and it seems to have taken its toll. Nagging injuries in his left knee and lower back sidelined him for two weeks earlier this season.
And when he's played, he's played differently than before. He doesn't travel above the rim nearly as often as he used to.
That curve isn't reversing, folks. Nor is his stance on the subject.
His window to the dunk contest is closed. Wishing he had done it before is dramatically different from deciding to do it now.
That just isn't happening. But our desire to see him compete isn't going away either.
"Enter the 2016 dunk contest before it’s really too late," Feldman pleaded. "Don’t end your career with this regret."
Something tells me James has checked off enough boxes in his career—four MVP awards, two world titles (and counting on both)—that he can live with this regret.
Statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.