Larry Nance Jr. is finally going to participate in the dunk contest ... we think? After injuries have delayed the 25-year-old high flyer’s debut in All-Star Saturday Night’s main event, there’s a rumor flying around that Nance has accepted the invitation from the NBA.
According to Oliver Maroney of UPROXX, Nance, along with Dennis Smith Jr., Aaron Gordon and Victor Oladipo, will be competing in the dunk contest this year. Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania reported Smith Jr.’s rumored acceptance earlier in the day.
However, moments later Smith Jr. refuted the reports, saying (via Twitter), “Sorry guys but I have NOT been officially invited to the slam dunk contest. As stated previously, I would be honored to be apart of it.” Shortly after, Nance also took to Twitter to address the rumors:
Don’t fall for #FakeNews...— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) January 23, 2018
Nance reiterated this after shootaround on Tuesday, per Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:
For some reason Larry Nance Jr thought Luke Walton told us Larry was in the dunk contest so Larry yelled to him as he walked away. “Luke! There’s no confirmation of that!” (we didn’t talk to Luke at all about that subject)— Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) January 23, 2018
This isn’t the first time players have denied reports that ultimately end up being true (i.e. Gordon Hayward to Boston, Isaiah Thomas’ return) and fans are hoping that this is another example of that.
Since entering the league, Nance has been one of the league’s best in-game dunkers. Give him enough space and he’ll put you on a poster. Just ask David West, Kevin Durant, and his now teammate Brook Lopez:
Filth. Pure filth.
Nance has been one of several Los Angeles Lakers involved in trade rumors the past couple of weeks, so there’s a chance he won’t even be wearing the purple and gold if he participates, but I’d say it’s a slim chance.
With Los Angeles gearing up to host All-Star Weekend next month, it would be great for fans to see Nance put on a show for the city on his jersey. #LetLarryDunk.