Despite the ongoing pandemic, the NBA All-Star Game is still a go for this coming weekend, and scores of players, coaches, and team personnel will head to Atlanta to participate in an abbreviated version of the annual festivities that will attempt to fit several events into a single night.
As part of the scaled-down schedule, the events that are usually part of the All-Star Saturday night extravaganza will take place during halftime of the game itself, with the three-point contest and slam dunk competition now filling out their respective fields of contestants.
We got a bit more clarity on the dunk contest participants on Tuesday, starting with the rather disappointing news that Zion Williamson won’t be competing in the showcase that is set to feature Cassius Stanley, Anfernee Simons, and Obi Toppin. And it appears Zion wasn’t the only one who declined his invite. Lakers fan favorite Alex Caruso also reportedly opted against joining the field in Atlanta.
Lakers guard Alex Caruso was among the players who declined a spot in the slam dunk contest, sources tell @TheAthletic. https://t.co/i4Quq5lg56
— Bill Oram (@billoram) March 2, 2021
Caruso has put his explosive athleticism on display at various point over the past couple of seasons in L.A., endearing himself to fans around the league. But according to the report, Caruso indicated that the shortened offseason may have played a factor in him deciding to take the opportunity to rest.