DENVER -- LeBron James is taking a pass on the NBA's
All-Star dunk contest.
James ended days of speculation Friday by deciding to sit out
the competition because of a sore left ankle and a lingering flu.
"I'm still a little sick and my ankle's still a little
tender," James said. "I'm not getting as much lift as I know I
can get off this ankle. I'll be there in attendance but I won't be
participating in it."
James still hasn't fully recovered from a sprained ankle that
caused him to miss two games last month. While he'll skip
Saturday's dunk contest, he plans to play on the sophomore team in
the Rookie Challenge and as a starter for the East in the All-Star
"I don't have 100 percent energy, but I'm happy to be here,"
James battled exhaustion from illness Thursday night in
Cleveland's 94-88 loss in Minnesota. He still had 26 points, eight
assists and seven rebounds, but was helped to the locker room early
in the fourth quarter.
"I got dizzy, dehydrated," James said. "I went into the
locker room, took my temperature, I was like 105."
He returned to the court with just over four minutes to play and
had to drop to his knees in the huddle during a timeout.
James didn't address the media after the game, but he made it to
All-Star practice Friday morning in Denver and was at the media
session in the afternoon.
James skipped last year's dunk contest in Los Angeles, partially
because he was upset at not being picked as a reserve for the
Eastern Conference's All-Star team as a rookie.
The league officially announced at least four participants for
Saturday night's dunk contest, at one time the highlight of
All-Star Weekend festivities. Atlanta rookie Josh Smith will
compete along with J.R. Smith and Chris Andersen of New Orleans and
Amare Stoudemire of Phoenix.
Denver was the site of the NBA's first dunk contest in 1984 and
the ABA dunk-off between Julius Erving and David Thompson in 1976.