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Zion Williamson: 'If I’m in the All-Star game, I’ll do the dunk contest'

San Antonio Spurs v New Orleans Pelicans
San Antonio Spurs v New Orleans Pelicans

After another uninspiring, mid All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest in Indianapolis this year, discussion swirled about how to improve the event — specifically, how to get stars such as Ja Morant or Zion Williamson to participate and bring some star power.

Zion said Tuesday he will do the Dunk Contest — if he makes the game itself.

"I've got to do my part and make the All-Star game," Zion said, via the Associated Press. "If I'm in the All-Star game, I'll do the dunk contest. If I'm not, I'm not doing it.”

Zion is a two-time All-Star, playing in the game in 2021 then making the team in 2023 but he did not play due to a strained hamstring. This past year, Zion was not particularly close to making it, finishing 17th in the fan voting for the West frontcourt starters (and 15th overall once player and media votes were counted).

For his part, Morant said he would need $1 million to do the Dunk Contest. Victor Wembanyama said during this year's All-Star weekend — when he competed in the Skills Challenge — that entering the 3-Point Shootout and Dunk Contest were on his "bucket list" (although it's tough to envision a guy who can almost dunk without jumping winning the Dunk Contest).

NBA player star power has been lacking from the Dunk Contest for years, which is why Jalen Brown's participation this year — he finished second to two-time winner and G-League player Mac McClung — stood out. Star players tend to see the Dunk Contest as a no-win situation in today's social media environment: Win and it's treated as expected, lose to a fringe NBA player/G-League player and they get roasted.

But maybe that will start to change if Zion plays well enough to make the All-Star Game in the next couple of years.