Larry Nance Jr. knows winning dunk contest requires more showmanship than in his dad’s day
By Bill Oram
NEW YORK — Larry Nance Jr. remembers that when he was a kid he would pull out VHS tapes of his father’s 1984 slam dunk contest triumph. In that grainy footage, the elder Nance cradled the ball with one hand behind his back and later dunked two balls.
Iconic though those jams might be, Nance Jr. knows that 34 years later, winning the dunk contest at All-Star Weekend later this month at Staples Center will require a few more frills.
“It’s less about the dunk and more about the showmanship at this point,” said Nance, whose participation was announced Thursday. “It’s all about what can you bring out, who can you bring out. It’s more about the lead up and the story and the showmanship.”
Nance, far from a showy player by nature, might have his work cut out for him on that front.
“I hate it,” he said, “but at the same time … I’ve got to get out of my comfort zone a little bit. That’s something that the NBA and whoever I have helping me is going to help me out with.”
It’s hard to imagine Nance participating in a dunk contest without honoring his father in some way, but whether that is wearing a throwback Phoenix Suns jersey or dunking two balls, he isn’t tipping his hand.
“We’ll have to see,” he said after arriving at Barclays Center wearing a T-shirt bearing his father’s likeness.
Lakers coach Luke Walton understands trying to follow in the footsteps of a superstar father, and said the dunk contest would be special for Nance Jr.
“Larry’s obviously living his own career,” Walton said. “He’s doing his own thing but there’s always something special when you get to do what your father did.”
Nance had hoped to participate in the dunk contest his first two seasons in the league, but […]