Posted March 02, 2013

Magic Johnson offers LeBron James $1M to participate in dunk contest

Ben Golliver, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, Miami Heat
LeBron James dunks through his legs with ease. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

LeBron James dunks through his legs with ease. (Issac Baldizon/Getty Images)

By Ben Golliver

NBA legend and ESPN commentator Magic Johnson challenged Heat forward LeBron James to enter the Slam Dunk Contest, dangling a large cash prize as an incentive.

Speaking on ESPN, Johnson said he would offer James $1 million if he participates in the NBA’s annual All-Star Weekend showcase.

“I’m going to put up a million dollars,” Johnson said during a telecast Friday night. “One million dollars to LeBron, please get in the dunk contest. I go every year, I want to see you out there. A million to the winner.” 

Johnson, 53, has an estimated net worth of at least $500 million.

Entering this season, James, 28, had earned more than $92 million in salary during his NBA career. Including this season, James has more than $79 million remaining on his contract with the Heat. His net worth has been estimated in the $100 million range.

The Associated Press notes that the dunk-contest winner is paid $100,000 while the runner-up earns $50,000.

James is regarded as one of the NBA’s best dunkers — if not the best — but has not participated in the dunk contest, unlike Hall of Famers Michael Jordan, Julius Erving, Dominique Wilkins and Clyde Drexler. James “preliminarily” pledged to participate in the 2010 contest, only to back out.

In February, James said he was “very close” to participating in this year’s competition, which Raptors rookie guard Terrence Ross won.

“I was very close,” he said. “I was very close to getting into the dunk contest, man. For me, I’ve always been an in-game dunker, man. When you’ve got to be in the dunk contest, you’ve got to be creative, figure out ways to do something that no one has done in the dunk contest. I couldn’t figure that out. I couldn’t figure that out. I was entertained by being in the three-point contest, too.”

RELATED: The 10 greatest Slam Dunk Contests | The 5 worst Slam Dunk Contests

James’ dunking has taken center stage over the last few weeks because he’s thrown down multiple pregame slams that are contest-worthy. Earlier this week, he went through-the-legs off of a self alley-oop. Before that, he jump-tossed the ball through his legs off the glass for a monster finish.

After those dunks prompted unnamed critics to bring up the fact that he hasn’t participated in the dunk contest, James threatened to end the Heat’s pregame dunking show. He later backed off that statement, saying the dunking would continue.

12 comments
Lebronfan
Lebronfan

Some of you guys here take life way to seriously! LMAO!

riley8
riley8

When you’ve got to be in the dunk contest, you’ve got to be creative, figure out ways to do something that no one has done in the dunk contest. I couldn’t figure that out. I couldn’t figure that out.

-Just another example of how this guy doesn't hold a candle to MJ.

playrighter
playrighter

How long will it be until Magic Johnson is attacked for this elitist offer in the same way that Mitt Romney was hammered for offering a pitiful $10,000 to Rick Perry?

rottleyster
rottleyster

With thousands in need in the LA area, Magic (?) can waste a million? He should be ashamed!!

AirKaris
AirKaris

Vince Carter was an "in game dunker" and look what he did.  Just do it James so people get off you about it!

dadler2150
dadler2150

There won't be a next Jordan in our lifetime. There will never be another Ruth, Gretzky or Michael Jackson either. Sorry but as much as this generation wants icons, they don't have any that measure up.

6marK6
6marK6

 @rottleyster Magic Johnson employs more people than any two former athletes combined. Your remark was about the stupidest thing I have ever read. You should research Magic's service to community. Who are you to attack Magic on how he spends his money. I would say Magic Johnson is the most responsible person in sports. Why don't you blast Jordan for blowing $400,000 on the golf course in one day? You know who Jordan is, he is the guy that gives nothing back to society.

RockStar
RockStar

 @6marK6  @rottleyster The most responsible person in sports???  Wow.  This from a person who has a picture of satan as his icon?  How is responsible to get HIV from promiscuous sex when you're a married man and role model for every kid in the world?  Thank God for Magic Johnson's social responsibility!  I mean, what would we do if the slam dunk champion next year only made $100,000?  You're right, 6mark6...this is very irresponsible of the NBA.  Just think how many children will die if he doesn't enter next year and make 1.1 million dollars when he wins! 

RockStar
RockStar

 @Brett Kos  @RockStar Unlike you, Brett, I actually know how to spell philanthropy too.  And yes, what a philanthropist Magic Johnson is, giving some of his millions to other multimillionaires...what a guy!  But hey, thanks for the insult about me being a hillbilly.  Insults always help identify people who have nothing intelligent to add to a conversation.  Where I would have chosen to include statistics, or some other form of evidence to back up my claims, you chose to call me a name.  Very standard.

ADFronfez
ADFronfez

 @Brett Kos  @RockStar If philanthropy is the goal, Magic should offer up the one million to a charity of the winner's choice.

Brett Kos
Brett Kos

 @RockStar  Wow, drama much?  He was a role model for EVERY kid in the world?  Time to stop being a drama queen there, buddy.  And 6mark6 was talking about Magic's philantrophy (doubt you know what this word means) and not his person life.  And these comments from a person with a hillbilly as his icon?