It’s a sad day in the world of sports entertainment.
Two-time defending NBA slam dunk champion Zach LaVine is not expected to participate in the 2017 contest, according to ESPN’s Chris Haynes.
As of now, it sounds as if the back-to-back Slam Dunk champ Zach LaVine will not pursue a three-peat.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 25, 2017
There are plenty of reasons for LaVine to make this decision. It appears as if the hip injury he sustained a couple of weeks ago is still bothering him and the last thing LaVine needs is to aggravate preparing for a meaningless event.
This also allows LaVine to ‘retire’ on top as a two-time defending champion, leaving him in the prestigious company of Michael Jordan, Nate Robinson and Jason Richardson as the only player to ever win back-to-back titles.
Plus, LaVine can begin to eliminate his reputation as “just a dunker” that probably still exists to the casual NBA fan. He can now set his sights on the three-point competition which, given his career arc from three-point range in two and a half seasons, seems easily attainable.
LaVine rocked All-Star Weekend two straight years with gravity-defying leaping ability that he made look effortless. As a 19-year-old in his rookie season, LaVine blew the competition out of the water without breaking a sweat.
Also, listening to Kenny Smith attempt to put words and phrases together in a coherent manner after watching LaVine throw down a jaw-dropping slam is always fun.
And then he gave us the famous 2016 duel with Aaron Gordon — a television spectacle that will go down in history among the greatest viewing experiences of all-time.
One after another, Gordon and LaVine left viewers in shock whether it be scaling over impossible distances vertically (Gordon) or horizontally (LaVine).
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Zach, your talents on All-Star Saturday night will be missed by us all, and we’d appreciate it if you picked up our jaws from the floor.