Now, it’s impossible. The NBA announced the four participants in the signature event of all-star Saturday night and neither McGee nor reigning champion Blake Griffin were among the players on the list. Houston forward Chase Budinger, Indiana swingman Paul George, New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert and Minnesota rookie Derrick Williams – all first-time contestants – will compete for the slam dunk title.
Despite becoming the first player to dunk with three basketballs – which earned him a spot in the Guinness World Record book – and dunk on two 10-foot rims at the same time, McGee was not asked to participate in the event and have the chance to make amends for his second-place finish. McGee told the team Website on Thursday that he would’ve participated if invited.
According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the NBA wanted to go in a different direction with the dunk contest and didn’t invite any past participants. Griffin said earlier this month that he had no interest in defending his title, but McGee offered a hint three days ago on Twitter that was at least interested in taking part in the event this season.
He wrote, “If I do the dunk contest somebody gotta gimme some good ideas or I’m not in it! What’s up twitter fans?”
McGee is second in the NBA in dunks with 72 this season (Griffin is first with 79). George, Williams, Shumpert & Budinger have combined for 55. None of the top 40 dunkers in the NBA is in the competition.
With nearly two months to prepare for the event last season, McGee made the slam dunk contest an elaborate production. He might not have brought out a car, but he showcased his creativity by designing special shoes for every dunk he attempted. He brought his mother down from the stands, carrying a red, white and blue basketball in a suitcase and wearing her WNBA jersey.
McGee came up with a few of his attempts while working out with Chris Webber the day before the event, but he wouldn’t have had much time to execute anything comparable anyway. The lockout obviously led to a delay in rounding up participants, and with limited practice time and an a condensed schedule, when would he have the chance to come up with something new and different?
McGee was disappointed last season that fan voting determined the winner in the final, essentially putting him in a popularity contest with the all-star Griffin. He wasn’t going to win that. But this year?
The slam dunk contest will have a new format, with fans voting via Twitter as contestants execute three dunks. McGee probably would’ve been the most popular player among the field that has been chosen, but if he proved anything last season – heck, during regular season games – he wants to entertain and dunk.
He recently abandoned his usual post-dunk salute for a new routine of placing his index fingerstache under his nose. The show still goes on, just not on Feb. 25, not for McGee in the slam dunk contest.