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Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Iguodala, Robinson join slam-dunk field; LeBron out

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith could become the third player to win consecutive NBA slam dunk contests when he participates in the event during All-Star weekend.

Josh Smith

Michael Jordan won back-to-back competitions in 1987-88 and Jason Richardson did it in 2002-03.

Joining Smith in contest this year will be Andre Iguodala of the Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks 5-foot-9 guard Nate Robinson and Hakim Warrick of the Memphis Grizzlies.

LeBron James, one of the league's premier in-game dunkers, declined an invitation to participate for the third year in a row.

"I'm not a slam-dunk-competition-type of guy," said the Cavaliers forward, who won the only dunk contest he ever entered as a high school senior. "On the spur of the moment, I can do dunks during the game. I can't think of a dunk before I do it. I'll leave it up to the guys who don't play as many minutes as I do. Those guys can go out there and throw the ball between their legs and stuff."

He doubts that he'll ever enter.

"I don't think so," said James, who plans to participate in the All-Star weekend's skills challenge. "I got the first two years out of the way and that's when you usually do it. I don't want to be defined as being in the slam dunk contest, it's just not me."

Asked to pick a winner, James first mentioned Smith, then Robinson

"Watch out for him, too, being as small as he is, he could be another Spud Webb."

Webb, a 5-foot-7 guard, won the contest in 1986.

Judges for the event, scheduled for Feb. 18 in Houston, all have ties to the Houston Rockets. Clyde Drexler, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes and Kenny Smith were all stars for the team and former coach Rudy Tomjanovich led the Rockets to two NBA titles.

The winner will receive $35,000, the runner-up gets $22,500 and the third and fourth finishers get $16,125 each.