2014 NBA Dunk Contest logo2014 NBA Dunk Contest

John Wall, Damian Lillard Reportedly Invited to 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

USA Today
Zach BuckleyNational NBA Featured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2014

For a league that's always been larger than life, the NBA keeps trending toward the little guys.

Relatively speaking, of course.

The historically notable center-less starting lineups for the 2014 NBA All-Star Game won't be the only sign of this downsizing league that weekend. According to separate reports, at least two of the open slots in the 2014 NBA Slam Dunk Contest could be filled by point guards.

Washington Wizards floor general John Wall, who was recently named to his first All-Star team, told CSNWashington.com's J. Michael that's he's received invitations to both the Slam Dunk Contest and the Skills Competition.

The 23-year-old said he's still weighing his options.

"I'll make decisions (Friday) or sometime next week," he said, via Michael. "They have asked me. I'm not sure. I don't know what I'll do yet."

Wall isn't the only floor general with a choice to make. Portland Trail Blazers first-time All-Star Damian Lillard could have a very eventful weekend.

He told CSNNW.com's Chris Haynes that he plans on defending his title in the Skills Challenge, in addition to already being on both the Rising Stars Challenge and All-Star Game rosters. A league source said the dunk contest is another possibility he's considering, per Haynes, but Lillard would not comment on it.

Both players would be more than capable performers. Dunking isn't the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of either one, but it's not due to a lack of high-flying highlights.

Still, neither sits inside an ideal dunk contest field:

The two also may not be league's first choices, either.

Indiana Pacers star Paul George said earlier this month he'd declined an invite for the event, via Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star. And Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan reportedly wanted to see if he would be selected for the All-Star game (he wasn't) before deciding on his dunk contest invitation, according to Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.

If the league has moved down its list of targets, it's refreshing to still hear notable names being mentioned. No offense to the 2013 contest participants—Gerald Green, Terrence Ross, James White, Eric Bledsoe, Jeremy Evans, Kenneth Faried—but there wasn't a name that carried the same weight as Lillard or Wall.

The quality of actual dunks hasn't suffered, but interest has waned in recent years for the lack of star power. Lillard and Wall won't bring it back on their own, but they could represent a step in the right direction.

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