Robinson plans to defend slam dunk title |

Robinson plans to defend slam dunk title

NEW YORK – After taking down Superman, Nate Robinson wanted a shot at King James.

Robinson is returning to the slam dunk contest at All-Star weekend, where he will try to become the first three-time winner. And like most NBA fans, he’s disappointed LeBron James won’t be in the field.

“I was hoping so,” Robinson said Monday, after scoring 27 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 99-91 victory over Detroit.

“It’d be good for the fans, for the NBA. It’d be pretty cool to get him and some other big names in it, but them guys are All-Stars. They don’t got to waste their time doing dunks and stuff like that.”

James tentatively placed himself in the Feb. 13 competition in Dallas while watching last year’s exciting matchup between Robinson and Dwight Howard in Phoenix from the seats. He said last month he was still “50-50” about participating.

Howard also passed this time, leaving a lackluster field of Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace, Lakers guard Shannon Brown, and the winner of a dunk-off during halftime of the rookie game between the Clippers’ Eric Gordon and Toronto rookie DeMar DeRozan.

Even Robinson wasn’t sure he’d return after last year’s victory, when he leaped over Howard en route to beating the 2008 champion.

But the 5-foot-9 Robinson, who won his first title in 2006, agreed with the NBA’s request to return as defending champion, even saying “it’s in the rulebook.”

“They want me back and hopefully I can go in and I’ll be the first one to win three,” Robinson said. “That’s my goal, to be the first one ever to win three dunk contests.

“At first I wasn’t sure. It’s my fourth time doing it, so I know people are probably getting sick of seeing me dunk. But like I say, the champion’s got to go back.”

NBA spokesman Mark Broussard said there is no rule that a champion must return, only that Robinson was asked and agreed to participate.

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