Larry Nance, Jr. has been cleared for takeoff once again, his flight path just doesn’t sound like it will include the dunk contest at the NBA’s 2017 All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.
The Los Angeles Lakers training staff cleared Nance to participate in a full practice on Saturday and to return to the team’s lineup on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks (albeit on a minutes restriction).
Nance being back is great news for the Lakers, who have missed one of their most versatile and valuable players. Unfortunately for fans of poster dunks everywhere, it doesn’t sound like it will come in time for him to participate in the dunk contest.
Although Nance wouldn’t totally close the door on his participation while addressing the media after the Lakers’ practice on Saturday morning, it also didn’t sound like him making the #LetLarryLeap movement a reality was the most likely outcome (via Bill Oram of the Orange County Register):
With three weeks until All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, Nance said he could throw together some plans if he were invited to participate but he’d prefer to be at full strength.
“That’s not what I want to give myself,” he said. “That’s not what I want to give the fans. I don’t think it’s fair to them, or fair to myself that I don’t give myself enough time to prepare. Unfortunately, two injuries this year and last year have prevented that.”
Nance missing the dunk contest for two years in a row due to poorly time injuries is unfortunate, but his style of ferocious jams are probably best enjoyed as the in-game variety anyway.
That is, unless Brook Lopez wants to volunteer as a prop:
Slow-mo of that Larry Nance Jr. dunk on Brook Lopez with Metta World Peace reaction pic.twitter.com/qrx4WUgAWP— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) December 15, 2016
If all that did was make you want to see Nance in the dunk contest even more, well first of all I’m sorry, and second, Nance offered some hope for you (again, via Oram):
As for the dunk contest, Nance is only looking to the future.
“I’ll do it,” he said. “I got a long time before old age hits.”
If the best things in life are worth waiting for, then Nance is going to put on a contest for the ages.