Two local high school basketball players have been scheduled to compete in a slam dunk competition during the NBA Draft on June 30 at MCI Center. The NBA and the Washington Wizards' parent company, Washington Sports and Entertainment, will stage the event within weeks of NBA Commissioner David Stern saying he would like the league and its players union to adopt a minimum age for NBA players, in part to prevent high schoolers from entering the draft.
The dunk contest and a dance team will be part of the in-arena entertainment for fans attending the draft, Washington Sports and Entertainment spokesman Matt Williams said. The contest will take place between picks, most likely during the first round, Williams said.
"We're just trying to find something fun for the fans," Williams said. "It's [the NBA's] show, really, but they look to the host city to provide entertainment. . . . The script for this is still moving around a little."
An NBA spokesman said last night that league officials were unaware of the dunk contest and declined further comment.
James White of the Newport School will compete in the contest, he and his father, James White III, said. White and another source said one of White's AAU teammates, Bernard Robinson of Dunbar, also has been scheduled to participate. Both competitors will get an NBA Draft T-shirt and two passes to the draft for participating, Williams said. The winner will receive a trophy, and both players could get an autographed basketball, he said.
The in-arena show will be seen only by spectators at MCI Center. The program includes a host and draft analyst, much like the coverage shown on national television, Williams said.
Stern said yesterday that 20 might be the preferred minimum age for players to be included in the NBA's draft pool. This year's draft includes 39 players with college eligibility remaining, including 11 college sophomores, five freshmen and two high schoolers.
Staff writer Steve Wyche contributed to this report.