Eric Bledsoe could move closer to the spotlight tonight. (Nathaniel S. Butler/NBA/Getty Images)
HOUSTON — Eric Bledsoe wants you to think about him. He just isn't quite sure how he wants you to think of him.
The Los Angeles Clippers' dynamic 23-year-old combo guard, who will participate in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest on State Farm All-Star Saturday Night this evening, considered it as he sat in a chair in his Houston hotel room on Friday afternoon. He leaned forward, elbows on his knees, rubbing his arms and thinking. What does he want fans to know about Eric Bledsoe after his performance on Saturday night?
"That he … he's a great person," Bledsoe tells me. "That he's a real … hmm. It's kind of … let's see.
"I don't know," he decides with a soft laugh.
In some ways, that's precisely why the dunk contest might be the most important night in Bledsoe's NBA career to date. Not only will it offer him an opportunity to introduce himself to millions of casual fans who might not be familiar with his three-year body of work, but it will also give him a chance to define himself independent of the context of team concepts and star teammates — a chance to stand alone, to bear his own standard, by rising up and over everyone and everything around him.Read More »from BDL Interview: Eric Bledsoe on the Slam Dunk Contest and stepping out of the shadows