More participants for the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest are finally revealed – Basketball Insiders
We are still ways to go for the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend, but as days go by we keep getting new details over the contests and new names are starting to pop up. With the tournament set to begin on Friday, February 17th in Salt Lake City, the first four players to participate at the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest have finally been announced.
Although many have said that the Slam Dunk Contest has been losing its touch in recent years, the competition has always been a fan-favorite event during the NBA’s All-Star Weekend.
From Michael Jordan making his historic dunk from the free-throw line or even Vince Carter’s stunning stunts, the dunk contest has always been a memorable moment right at the NBA’s mid-season break. Let’s remember some of the best highlights, as ESPN made a Top 10 slam’s of the contest:
A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Portland Trail Blazer’s Shaedon Sharpe, KJ Martin for the Houston Rockets and G League’s Mac McClung will be participating in this year’s dunk competition, as the fourth participant was kept unknown until now.
This past Saturday, ESPN’s Andrew Lopez revealed that New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III will participate in this year’s competition, giving us the final participant for All-Star Weekend.
New Orleans Pelicans forward Trey Murphy III has been invited to the NBA dunk contest, multiple sources tell ESPN.
— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 29, 2023
As Sharpe, Martin, McClung and Murphy are all athletic, young players that have been known to have some special dunks, this definitely has the makings of being a special group. Out of the four of them, KJ Martin is in his third season with the Rockets and has the most experience in the league, but 24-year-old McClung is the oldest participant.
Why do stars hate the dunk contest now?
After last year’s dunk contest, most fans were especially dissapointed with the All-Star competition stating that “they should cancel it”. The thing is, now even NBA stars are dissing the contest and you can see it’s reflected on their participation.
Without Grizzlies’ Ja Morant or Zion Williamson from New Orleans, fans don’t believe it’s even worth it. The contest is sinking not only due to the change in rules and guidelines, but mostly due to the creativity of the dunks. Last year when Jalen Green wrapped a phone around his neck and missed his dunk eight straight times, fans had enough.
Check out A.M. Hoop’s take on the matter, and how he hilariously rips into the Slam Dunk Contest:
In Morant’s case, he has been reluctant to get involved. Back in 2021 he said he wanted a million dollars in return for his participation. One year later, he went unto saying he would need a Twitter post with a billion likes to consider it. Last time he was put on the spot was when legend Reggie Miller almost begged him on air during the last All-Star Game, but Morant just laughed and joked “I don’t think the 10 foot rim is high enough.”
Although last year’s contest was a huge disappointment, we are all hoping that this fresh group of young and athletic players can show us what they are all about and hopefully bring this event back to life!