Miami Heat small forward LeBron James is considering former Los Angeles Lakers point guard Magic Johnson’s $1 million offer to finally give the fans what they want by participating in the NBA’s slam dunk contest.
James said during a pregame interview on ESPN that he has not decided yet on taking Johnson’s offer.
“Tell him I’ll get back to him,” he told the network’s Lisa Salters, who interviewed James.
The 28-year-0ld James, on his way to a fourth NBA MVP, has been delighting fans during pregame warmups with an amazing aerial assault that eclipses anything the all-star weekend competition has seen in recent years. While those in attendance has marveled at James’ dunks, critics have blasted him for never participating in one of the league’s all-star weekend showcase events.
James admitted during the interview: “I think about (participating) every year,” James said.
Hall of Famers like Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant have all won slam dunk titles.
Johnson, an NBA analyst for ESPN, made the offer on Friday during a live broadcast of ESPN’s “Kia NBA Countdown.” He said that he would pay James or anyone who can beat him in the dunk contest $1 million of his own personal money.
“Please, LeBron, get in the dunk contest. I’m going to put up a million dollars,” Johnson said. “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.”
ESPN analyst Jalen Rose raised the bar by calling for more elite players to take part, as well.
“LeBron James, Blake Griffin both have to be in it,” Rose said Friday on the show, and Johnson agreed.
Griffin, the league’s premier slam-dunker, won the dunk contest in 2011.
The NBA pays $100,000 to the winner and $50,000 to the runner-up.