Despite establishing himself as one of the NBA's best dunkers, Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said he has little interest in participating in this year's Slam Dunk Contest.
Westbrook is highly likely to be in Orlando for All-Star Weekend on Feb. 24-26, as he appears to be a lock to be voted into the game by coaches as a reserve for the Western Conference All-Stars. The starters for the East and West were announced Thursday, and the reserves will be named next Thursday on TNT.
In 2009, Westbrook was one of three rookies that fans had the opportunity to vote into the contest. But guard Rudy Fernandez beat out Westbrook and Joe Alexander. Westbrook, when reminded that many fans would like to see him take part in the contest, pointed out that they had their chance.
“If they wanted to see me in it, they would have voted me in it when I was (a candidate),” Westbrook joked. “I'm good.”
Westbrook added that if he is selected as a reserve, he would be open to other events. If he's not a reserve, Westbrook said he isn't likely to travel to Orlando at all.
In each of the past two All-Star Weekends, Westbrook was a participant in the Skills Challenge, an obstacle-course style competition between four of the league's most skilled guards. In 2010, Westbrook finished last in Dallas. Last year, he came in second.
“If I'm in the (All-Star) game, I might do the Skills Challenge again but that's about it,” Westbrook said. “I liked that. That was fun. It's a good thing to do. I want to try to win it, though, this time.”
DURANT WANTS COMPANY
Thunder forward Kevin Durant said he is confident Westbrook will be selected as a reserve on the Western Conference All-Star team, and possibly another teammate, too.
“Hopefully, we'll get two of them. James (Harden) has been playing like an All-Star, too, this year,” said Durant, who was voted by fans as a starter for the second straight season.
When Durant was selected to his first All-Star Game, he vowed to never take being selected for granted, that it was a privilege and not a right to be chosen.
Asked if still felt that way, Durant said: “I do. You have to go through so much in this league to get voted in. You just got to keep working, man. Hopefully, this is a steppingstone for me. Hopefully, I'll be a part of it for years to come. Right now, I'm just going to enjoy it.”
COACH BROOKS, TOO
Actually, Durant also wants the Thunder coaching staff joining him in Orlando.