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Cam Whitmore Declines Dunk Contest Invitation Because He’s Not ‘Somebody In This League’ Yet

Houston Rockets' Cam Whitmore plays during an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Cam Whitmore has a max vertical of 40.5 inches. He effectively uses those hops to hammer powerful dunks and finish over defenders. However, we won’t see his athletic ability fully displayed this All-Star Weekend as Whitmore already declined the league’s invitation twice. The reason may surprise you.

According to Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen, the Villanova product refused to participate in the Slam Dunk contest because he felt he didn’t deserve it yet.

“I don’t, I really don’t, nothing that takes technique and plus, with the flashiness added into that. It’s hard.

I got asked twice for the dunk contest and I said ‘no.’ I’m waiting until the time comes. I don’t see myself as a dunker. I don’t have anything up my sleeve right now. But in year two, year three, when I establish myself as somebody in this league, yeah I’ll do it.”

Cam Whitmore on why he declined to participate in the Slam Dunk contest

Whitmore was supposed to be a lottery pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. That’s why fans were scratching their collective heads when he fell into the Houston Rockets’ lap at 20. 

He received DNPs and was inactive early in the season, but has now played in 16 straight games for Houston. In fact, he had three nasty dunks in a four-minute span in their blowout win over the Los Angeles Lakers. The rookie finished with 20 points and six boards.

As to why he fell in the NBA Draft, Adrian Wojnarowski pointed to poor workouts and interviews. However, Whitmore gave Feigen humble answers on why he did not deserve to be in the dunk contest. At just 19 years old, he is in the early stages of exploring his potential.

If his recent play is any indication, he will be somebody in this league. Over the last 15 games, he averaged 13.1 points and 4.9 rebounds on nearly 47 percent shooting from the floor and 40 percent from deep.