If you’ve always wanted to see LeBron James do his thing in a slam dunk contest, you’ll have to turn the clock all the way back to his high school days.
For years, fans have been clamoring for LeBron James to give the NBA Slam Dunk Contest a try. But the most iconic NBA player of the recent era has always opted out of the NBA’s most iconic exhibition showcase. He’s given us a near-endless highlight reel of great in-game dunks, but we’ve never had the chance to witness his blend of insane athleticism and unique creativity in a dunk contest setting.
At least not in the NBA.
LeBron has actually competed in a dunk contest before. He won the 2003 Powerade Jam Fest as part of the McDonald’s All-American Game. And thanks to the digital archives of YouTube, you can watch the whole thing.
Who did LeBron James beat in the 2003 Powerade Jam Fest?
This McDonald’s All-American group did include several future NBA players like Chris Paul and Luol Deng but the dunk contest didn’t have the same star power outside of LeBron. He finished on top with Von Wafer coming in second and Shannon Brown coming in third. Wafer went to Florida State and eventually played parts of six seasons as a role player in the NBA. Brown went to Michigan State and later was a teammate of LeBron’s with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Brown may have been an NBA role player but he was a legendary dunker and competed in the NBA Dunk Contest in 2010 while he was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
In a fun time capsule of who was a relevant sports figure in 2003, LeBron secured his victory in front of a judging panel that included Dajuan Wagner, Darius Miles, Carlos Boozer, DeSagna Diop, Larry Nance Sr. and Michael Vick.