Slam Dunk Contest 2013: James White Will Inject New Life into NBA Event

Josh BenjaminCorrespondent IFebruary 8, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 11:  James White #4 of the New York Knicks takes the shot against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on January 11, 2013 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

This year's Slam Dunk Contest is full of great candidates, and James White of the New York Knicks is going to bring new life into the annual All-Star Weekend event. Nicknamed "Flight," White came to the Knicks this season after spending the previous three seasons playing in Russia and Italy.

He does not have much size at 6'7", 215 pounds, but White is easily the best athlete out of all the players participating in the contest. He is a tremendous pest on defense, and all opposing teams can do once he pulls away with a steal is watch the magic happen.

Of course, that isn't to say that White is a guarantee to win the event. He has only appeared in 34 games this season and is averaging only 6.7 minutes. For an event that requires so much athleticism like the Slam Dunk Contest, that's a lot of potential rust to shake off.

Just the same, that matters little. White does not have to win the Slam Dunk Contest to inject new life into it. All he really needs to do is put up a solid performance, and he won't have a problem doing that at all.

Keep in mind that this is the same man who won the 2001 McDonald's High School Slam Dunk Contest and then the NCAA College Slam Dunk Contest in 2006. Rising up and doing excellent work above the rim is what he was born to do.

White also won a dunk contest in Europe in 2011, and participating in another one at All-Star Weekend this year is just another chapter of his illustrious career in the air.

Look at it this way: Of the five other players in this year's Slam Dunk Contest, most are youngsters still making their mark in the NBA, with the exception of second-year man and rebound machine Kenneth Faried.

White, on the other hand, has already made a career out of being a great dunker. This is just a chance for him to show the NBA fans what he is best at and why he belongs in the league.

Given how well he has performed above the rim in the past, fans are definitely going to be in for a treat this year and will walk away with new expectations regarding future contests.