Here’s why Ja Morant won’t ever compete in NBA slam-dunk contest

Ja Morant’s dunks brought some excitement to the 2023 All-Star Game, but it also reminded of a lingering question: Will Morant ever do the NBA slam dunk contest?

Mac McClung’s win on Saturday’s dunk contest was among the better dunk contest performances in recent history. Some started clamoring for Morant to do it next year in 2024 despite the Memphis Grizzlies star guard repeatedly declining any invitations to do it.

Morant tried to squash that talk Saturday, but his double-pump reverse dunk Sunday — along with his reputation as one of the NBA’s best dunkers — probably didn’t convince people he was serious.

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“I’m not doing the dunk contest,” Morant said Saturday during his media availability. He added later that it would take a billion likes for him to do it.

It’s not the first time Morant turned down the competition or put up a crazy requirement to do so. As a rookie in 2020, he declined an invitation because he wanted to focus on team goals.

“Everybody knows I can dunk,” Morant said then. “I’m just locked in right now and just focusing. Just trying to do the stuff here with my teammates and get wins.”

In September 2021, ahead of his third season, he told Taylor Rooks in a Bleacher Report interview that it would take $1 million to do the dunk contest. But he also wasn’t a fan of how the contest was judged, something he voiced on Twitter while watching the 2020 contest.

Later, he joked it would take even more than $1 million, especially if others got offered that much.

“Ten. I need 12 (million). I got Pampers and stuff to buy,” said Morant.

Just like LeBron James, Morant will hear questions about the dunk contest for most of his career.

And also like James, people won’t be satisfied that the only way to watch Morant’s dunks is in-game, on social media or on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” as they go viral.

This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Why Ja Morant won’t ever compete in NBA dunk contest


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