Zion Williamson earned the first All-Star nod of his career this week, and given that he will already be in Atlanta for the 2021 All-Star Game on March 7, NBA fans are wondering whether the Pelicans forward will also participate in the Slam Dunk Contest.
The 20-year-old addressed the speculation Wednesday — well, sort of. Williamson wouldn’t definitively say he will be in the Slam Dunk Contest field, but he did leave the door open.
NBA ALL-STAR 2021: Full list of starters, reserves
“Who knows? That’s all I can say,” Williamson said (via NBA.com’s Jim Eichenhofer). “Who knows? I might. You never know.”
Zion says he doesn’t know if he will participate in the dunk contest at @NBAAllStar 👀
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 24, 2021
As of Thursday morning, no NBA players had announced that they would be participating in the Slam Dunk Contest, which is scheduled to be held at halftime of the All-Star Game. The league would be thrilled if Williamson threw his hat into the ring, as the event has featured plenty of high-fliers in recent years but lacked star power.
One player who can already crossed off the list: Bulls guard Zach LaVine, who joined Williamson as a first-time All-Star when reserves were revealed on Tuesday. LaVine is already a two-time Slam Dunk Contest champion, so he certainly has nothing to prove.
“Last year I was thinking about doing it, especially because it was in Chicago,” LaVine said (via the Chicago Tribune’s Jamal Collier and DeAntae Prince). “But I’m a little bit past that now and we’ve got a lot of games left. I don’t want to lose my legs.”
With a previous winner in LaVine ruled out, Williamson could enter the event as the betting favorite. As a high schooler, he won the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Dunk Contest with relative ease. Obviously, he would be facing pros this time around, but … the guy is pretty good at dunking.