PHOENIX -- LeBron James held his semi-annual dunk contest, this time at the start of All-Star week.
For more than a decade now, James has been saying no to the premium event on All-Star Saturday. The NBA and sponsors asked, sometimes begged, his first few years in the league. He's always had an open invitation, but now no one bothers asking.
James has said he'll never take part because, as he's said every year about this time, he's an "in-game dunker." He repeated that line in recent days and will just watch Saturday night in New Orleans.
But ever media savvy, James also loves to keep the conversation about it going. So once or twice a season, he will put on a little show. This year he chose Monday following a Miami Heat practice at US Airways Center as the Heat prepared to play the Phoenix Suns Tuesday night.
Alongside former Sun Michael Beasley, James waited for the cameras to come in and then went to work. He bounced the ball off walls. He bounced the ball off pillars. He bounced the ball off the floor. And with all cameras on him, he threw down several dunks that probably would've won him a dunk contest had he ever taken part.
Also, conveniently, his misses could be edited out.
"That's rare, very, very rare," James said after the dunk show. "We had a great practice and we felt good. When it stops becoming fun, you should stop playing."
After some of the feats -- one was a lob from halfcourt that hit a large post behind the basket then bounced off the floor for James to pluck out of the air and dunk -- he and teammates re-watched the footage on Dwyane Wade's phone.
Wade posted video links of two of James' dunks on Twitter:
part 2... http://t.co/EzdFdqnatY- THREE (@DwyaneWade) February 10, 2014
"The dunk contest [with James] would be one of the most watched events, besides the Grammys, of the year," Wade said. "I get to see a lot of his dunk contests behind the scenes and I get amazed with some of the things he can do."
Wade, who has also passed on taking part in the contest in his career, said he knows why James has always turned the offers down.
"I think if [he] did get in it, people would expect him to jump off an airplane," Wade said. "The expectation is so high that it might be a small letdown as well. The man can fly, but Blake Griffin jumped over cars, so LeBron James has to jump over something else. The window has passed from that standpoint."
James, keeping up his little passive-aggressive game on the matter, had another thing to say: "I'd win it."