As a rookie, Kobe was—and still is—fearless. He wanted to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest because he knew what it could do to his legacy. If Michael did it, Kobe had to do it. Although, Bryant did kind of steal Isaiah Rider's dunk, but who cares, right? Anyway, Kobe can always say he participated and won the Slam Dunk Contest unlike a certain King holding court in South Beach.