Luke Ridnour really cannot dunk

Luke Ridnour is the active NBA leader in points scored without a dunk. In fact, he has not dunked since high school. Some players just don’t need to.

Saturday, Victor Oladipo will participate in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest joining Dwight Howard, Darrell Armstrong and Otis Smith as Magic participants in the event.

Armstrong is probably known for the most unusual performance in the dunk contest. He failed to complete his dunk and ended up making a reverse layup, worn out by so many attempts.

That is OK, Darrell, at least we know you can dunk. His in-game dunks were legendary and he earned that spot in the contest even if he did not perform under the bright lights in San Antonio in 1996.

The rite of passage of dunking though is not for everyone. People like Luke Ridnour just choose not do it.

Luke Ridnour, in fact, has NEVER dunked in a NBA game. That is a career that has spanned 11 years. And, at 34 years old, he probably is not dunking any time soon.

Still, it is shocking to hear that a player of his longevity has not thrown one in. Ben Cohen of The Wall Street Journal got to the bottom of this non-dunking phenomenon speaking to Ridnour, former Magic guard J.J. Redick (his lone dunk came in the 2011 Playoffs against the Hawks) and Kyle Lowry (who has scored the most points this season without a dunk).

“You’ve never dunked in the NBA?” teammate Channing Frye said.

“Never even crossed my mind,” Ridnour said.

No one who has played in the NBA this season has scored as much in his career as Ridnour without dunking, according to Stats LLC. This play-by-play data dates to the 2003 season, but only Steve Nash tops Ridnour in this inauspicious statistical category. “There’s got to be more than that,” Ridnour said. “Muggsy?”

Redick admitted there is peer pressure to dunk. Especially on his Los Angeles Clippers team. They give him a hard time when he passes on dunking and he does it in pregames occasionally. But Redick makes his money beyond the arc rather than in the paint.

He will finally get a go at the 3-point shootout this year at All-Star Weekend. In Orlando, at least, he claimed no one had beaten him in a shooting contest. This year’s field will make it tough for him to defend that crown.

Ridnour is not dunking any time soon. In fact, he has just 16 field goal attempts within five feet of the basket this year. And only 16 more from 5-14 feet. Ridnour is a mid-range jump shooter at this point in his career.

Unlike Ridnour, Victor Oladipo will be dunking Saturday night as one of the four contestants in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest.