‘I’m serious’ Stephen A. Smith goes on two-minute First Take rant over LeBron James ‘ruining’ NBA All-Star Dunk Contest

ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith has called out Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James for destroying one of the NBA’s marquee events. 

The 56-year-old expressed in a passionate rant that James is responsible for “ruining” the NBA Dunk contest for refusing to “participate” in the event since being in the league.

Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James is to blame for the NBA's struggles with the dunk contest
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Stephen A. Smith believes LeBron James is to blame for the NBA’s struggles with the dunk contestCredit: ESPN

James has never participated in the NBA dunk contest
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James has never participated in the NBA dunk contestCredit: Getty
Smith went into detail on Monday’s episode of the popular ESPN show First Take.

He was joined alongside by guest analyst Shannon Sharpe, former NBA player Kendrick Perkins, and cohost Molly Qerim for the segment.

Molly started the topic by asking the panel their thoughts on what the NBA should do with the dunk contest.

Smith blasted James and pointed the issues at the NBA icon.

The longtime ESPN voice expressed that he believes James has had a great career, but since he did not participate in the dunk contest like other legends did before, it is a blemish on his resume.

“LeBron James is directly responsible for ruining the slam dunk contest, Smith declared,” as Molly and Sharpe shouted in disagreement.

Smith continued highlighting that ex-superstars like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Dominque Wilkins participated and won the contest.

“I’m so serious about this, Shannon, I’ll even shut up about the GOAT debate. If you hear me out…

“Every higher jumper and Shy walker and above-the-rim talent salivated for the opportunity to compete in the slam dunk contest.

“It stopped when LeBron James said, ‘I’m not doing it.’
‘It was an absolute travesty’, says Stephen A. Smith as First Take analyst claims NBA All-Star game should be scrapped
“From that point forward, the stars who followed didn’t feel compelled to prioritize the slam dunk contest by the tradition that was set,” Smith said.

Smith also took issue with James “rubbing it in people’s face” with his dunks and routine during the layup lines before the game, where the NBA star frequently put on high-flying performances throughout his 21 seasons in the league.

NBA fans swarmed to X, formally known as Twitter, with reactions and comments to Smith’s tirade about James.

“I hate when Stephen A. is right. Lol it ain’t the end of the world, but Bron not participating definitely took some importance away from it,” this fan said.

“I get it. It would be like Steph Curry refusing to do the 3-point shootout,” another fan suggested.

“This may be his worst take to date,” a third declared.

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