Memphis Grizzlies rookie point guard Ja Morant has captivated the league in the first half of the season with his dazzling ball-handling skills, sensational passes and rim-rocking dunks. Morant’s explosive athleticism and extraordinary leaping ability made him a prime candidate to participate in the 2020 Slam Dunk Contest next month, but unfortunately fans will just have to settle for his in-game jams.
According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the 20-year old guard has decided not to participate and will instead focus on “maintaining good health for the duration of the season.” That said, Morant hasn’t ruled out competing in future contests.
The Grizzlies No. 2 overall pick has lived up to the hype through his first 35 NBA games, averaging 18 points, 3.5 rebounds and 6.9 assists while leading Memphis to a 19-22 record which is good enough for eighth in the Western Conference.
As for the rest of the 2020 Dunk Contest invitees, it has been reported that Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard have both agreed to participate. However, Howard recently denied that he had signed on for his fourth Dunk Contest.
Two-time dunk champion Zach LaVine was the fourth invitee and his decision still has not been made. According to ESPN’s Eric Woodyard, LaVine is considering the invitation, and he’ll be “more likely” to participate if he is selected to the Eastern Conference All Star team. The 24-year old high flyer captured the crown in 2015 and 2016 after outlasting Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon in dramatic fashion.