Source: Lakers' Larry Nance Jr. won't compete in dunk contest

ByBaxter Holmes ESPN logo
Wednesday, January 25, 2017

High-flying Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., the son of the league's first dunk champion, will not be competing at the dunk contest during the Feb. 17-19 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, according to a league source.

Nance Jr., who has been vocal about his excitement to participate, received an invite earlier this season, the source said, but Nance's plans were interrupted by a bone bruise in his left knee, which sidelined him for 16 games in December and January.

Celtics rookie Jaylen Brown also said he will not compete in the dunk contest.

"I am honored to even be asked to compete in the Slam Dunk Contest on All Star Saturday," he told ESPN's Chris Haynes. "However I decided to pass this year because I want to focus all my energy on being ready to help my team. I hope the league asks me again. I would love to show what I can do in the future."

Nance Jr., the former Wyoming standout, has returned to action and played in Sunday's loss to Dallas. But the injury gave him a short window to prepare before the Feb. 18 contest, which led him to inform the NBA earlier in January that he'll have to miss out, the source said.

He faced a similar situation during his rookie year, when a sore right knee in January and February forced him to miss action. So he declined the invitation to complete in the dunk contest.

With the All-Star game being played in Los Angeles in 2018, Nance Jr. is hopeful that he'll be able to follow in his father's footsteps and win the dunk contest, as Larry Nance Sr. did in 1984.

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, the runner-up in last year's NBA Slam Dunk Contest, will compete in this year's event, sources tell Haynes.

Sources also tell Haynes that Phoenix Suns undrafted rookie guard Derrick Jones has been invited, but is still weighing his options.

The Orange County Register first reported that Nance Jr. wasn't expected to compete in this year's event.