The 2021 NBA Dunk Contest lacks two things to this point: big names and memorable former participants.
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, New Orleans Pelicans star Zion Williamson, Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown, Minnesota Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards and Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges reportedly have all turned down invitations.
They join notable former participants such as Chicago's Zach LaVine, Orlando's Aaron Gordon and Portland's Derrick Jones Jr. in passing on the event.
Instead, the league's current participants include Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons and a pair of rookies in New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin and Indiana Pacers guard Cassius Stanley.
Missing out on Edwards is a major loss. He had arguably the dunk of the year in February and has already compiled an impressive dunk reel:
Brown is no stranger to a highlight yam himself:
And we all know what players like LaVine, Gordon and Jones bring to the table:
One player who might have added a major jolt of excitement to the event was Williamson. That's off the table now too.
It's another blow to the league's All-Star festivities. Superstars like LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo have already questioned whether the league should hold an All-Star Game during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, many of the most exciting options for the Slam Dunk Contest have decided to sit out the event.