Grizzlies Ja Morant would revitalize the NBA’s dunk contest

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies-(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies-(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

The Grizzlies’ star guard Ja Morant is preparing for Sunday night’s All-Star game, but many wish he were suiting up for Saturday’s Dunk contest as well. Here is why he would have helped revitalize the competition had he chosen to participate.

The Grizzlies are being represented in the All-Star festivities this weekend by their young duo of Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr. Both made the All-Star team as reserves, and it’s the first time that two Grizzlies have made the cut. As fun as it will be to see them both out there Sunday night, it’s hard not to wish that we could Morant on Saturday night as well.

The once-can’t-miss NBA Dunk Contest has lost much of its luster over the past few years. A big reason why is a lack of interest in participating from the game’s best players. A few All-Star caliber players have taken part over the past few years, but they weren’t stars at the time. That is why it would be refreshing to see a star participate, and Morant is as good a candidate as any.

Grizzlies’ Morant would bring star power back to the dunk contest

The NBA dunk contest was not always viewed as poorly as it is today. Older NBA fans especially know how star-studded the event used to be. The event began in 1984, and players like Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins, and Michael Jordan were among the first participants. Sure, there were plenty of guys who weren’t as known who not only participated but won, but the event almost always had a superstar competing.

That started to change in the mid-to-late 90s when fewer players seemed interested in competing. The early and late 2000s saw many great competitions, but still very few true stars competing. The last great competition according to many was the show that Zach Lavine and Aaron Gordon put on in 2016. Since then, both the field and the dunks just have not impressed.
Kenyon Martin Jr, Mac McClung, Trey Murphy III, and Jericho Sims will be the participants this year. No offense to any of these dudes, but a lot of casual NBA fans may not even know who they are. That’s why a player like Ja Morant agreeing to participate would be so impactful.

Not only is he an unbelievable dunker, but he would bring some star power back to the event. He would be the best athlete competing and would easily win based on what I have seen from the other competitors. It seems likely though that we will never see him suit up for one. We may need to settle for his incredible in-game dunks.