For years, a lot of people have been wanting LeBron James to be in the dunk contest. It was driving people crazy that he would do dunk contest-worthy jams during his pre-game warm-ups; it’s not unusual for guys to do these kinds of dunks during warm-ups but since it’s LeBron James, it’s a huge deal.
There had been a report last December that LeBron would never join the dunk contest. He teased during the 2009 Dunk Contest that he would join in 2010 but he ended up not doing it.
Now Magic Johnson wants LeBron to join the dunk contest that he was willing to put up his own money to get him to join. How much? Check out what he said during ESPN’s pre-game show on Friday night. From ESPN:
Magic Johnson on Friday said he wants to see James take part in the annual contest so badly that he offered to give $1 million to James — or anyone who can beat him.
“Please, LeBron, get in the dunk contest. I’m going to put up a million dollars,” Johnson said on ESPN’s Kia NBA Countdown. “A million dollars from Magic to LeBron. Please get in the dunk contest. I go every year. I want to see you out there. A million to the winner.”
It’s kind of a no-win for LeBron James. He accepts this then it would be all about the money (although, of course, he could give the money to charity thereafter). He doesn’t accept it? We’ll continue to wonder the “what if.”
The last bonafide star to do the dunk contest was Blake Griffin in 2011. Early in the history of the dunk contest, we had big names like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins, and Vince Carter do it. Most of the spots in the dunk contest have been going to young, role players so the contest loses its luster because of unfamiliar names. If we have guys like Griffin, Russell Westbrook, LeBron, or even Kyrie Irving do it, the contest would be more likely to be a smash hit.
A few weeks ago, it was Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors that won the dunk contest.