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

Mar 2, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT

NBA All-Star Game 2013 Getty Images

The irrational love fans have for watching the game’s best player do what he does best is perhaps beginning to get a little out of hand. And the media seems more than happy to be complicit in stoking that fire.

LeBron James is not going to enter the dunk contest. Ever. Simply put, he doesn’t have to, and he doesn’t want to. If participating in the event had interested him at all in his 10 NBA seasons, you know what would have happened? He would have done it, and likely would have won it.

We’ll never know for sure, of course, but the recent string of powerful dunks James has put on display in pregame warmups has people clamoring to see him take part in the midseason dunk contest as a legitimate participant.

The buzz has gotten to the point where people are ripping LeBron for his choice not to do it, and now we have media personalities essentially begging him to participate in the ultimately meaningless exhibition.


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.”

The NBA currently pays $100,000 to the winner and $50,000 to the runner-up.

Make it stop.

You know who else goes to the dunk contest every year? LeBron James, who sits courtside and has as much fun as anyone watching the league’s high flyers put on the exhibition.

With all of the demands on his time throughout the course of an NBA season, not to mention the physical demands of playing heavy minutes on a championship caliber team on a nightly basis, if that’s the one thing he enjoys as a fan of the game that he doesn’t have to worry about preparing for, both physically and mentally, then let him have his time to relax and enjoy it.

James doesn’t need the money, and clearly, he doesn’t need the aggravation.

  1. reesesteel23 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    He should do it….because haters are down to the last few ticky-tack reasons why they dont like him. They’re ammo is getting low…

    • cbking05 - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:44 PM

      I like this answer …Next thing will be he doesn’t participate in the 3-point shoot out

    • kindasporty - Mar 2, 2013 at 6:51 PM

      He’s never punched a teammate. Jordan punches his teammates. Lebron will never be great.

    • dannymac17 - Mar 2, 2013 at 10:13 PM

      besides the fact you made the rookie mistake of their and they’re (thats pretty hard to mess up)

      i agree with your opinion

  2. reesesteel23 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:05 AM


  3. cakemixa - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM

    Thank Skip Bayless for all of this.

  4. BOOMmediaGroup - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:08 AM

    Reblogged this on boom Media Group.

    • reesesteel23 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:10 AM

      Lol….you make the PBT family very angry. You wont like them when they’re angry.

    • shorttracknews - Mar 3, 2013 at 1:50 PM

      So does “reblogged” mean – linked off a site that actually has followers?

  5. DonRSD - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:15 AM

    Very good article.
    LBJ is the 1st mega-athlete to grow up in the social media / Internet age.

    He handles it like a superstar.

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Yeah the decision show was brilliant. He handled that situation like a super star.

      • 00maltliquor - Mar 4, 2013 at 12:42 AM

        The Decision brought in Millons for a children’s charity. I’d say he handled that like a mega-star!

  6. djeter220 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Good to see you’re so above wanting to see the best do what they do best. No one’s forcing him to do it, they just want to see him do it and if they can offer him extra incentive and maybe he accepts, so what? I don’t knock him for not doing it, and I don’t knock everyone who wants to see it.

  7. cantonbound13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

    It would be funny to see him lose to a 12th man on another roster, like that guy from Utah.

    • buffalowned - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      you are the definition of a troll. i honestly hope you are a young teenager otherwise i feel bad for you. stop embarrassing yourself with your ignorant posts… no one cares

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    Is he going to make the same offer for Daniel Day-Lewis to go on Dancing With The Stars? how about a mil for Jennifer Lawrence to do movies on late night Skin-a-Max?

    The only ones who benefit from LeBron doing the Slam Dunk Contest is Kia and Sprite. Nobody else.

    If you want to see LeBron dunk, go on YouTube. It’s all there for free, 24/7/365. To do it in a corporate dog and pony show is beneath him.

  9. tombstone7 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:32 AM

    Lebron is very insecure. He is a superb player, but highly immature as a man. His pleaser style of leadership is effective on the court, but off the court, he and many other highly paid athletes are reluctant to speak the Truth, unlike Jim Brown who used his status to call attention to the social ills. IMO!

    • uberdepressedbrownsredsfan - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      jim brown also beat women (and im a browns fan)

    • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM

      You were correct, right up until you said Jim Brown. Brown is an idiot and every good thing he’s done just equals out all the stupid and selfish things he has done and continues to do.

  10. brockw82 - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:46 AM

    Mike did it 😉

  11. thenmoveback - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:48 AM

    I think LBJ would do it if other superstar (Durant, griffin, Dwight…) would also do it. He isn’t gonna do it against a bunch of bench guys most ppl can’t name.

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:33 PM

      Those guys already did it, LeBron pansied out. Once again you have no idea what you’re talking about. Dwight did it 2x, Griffin won in his only attempt & Durant lost. You really need to brush up on your NBA history before you open your big mouth.

      • hehateme2 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:01 PM

        you’re a moron. Every post confirms this.

      • thenmoveback - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:15 PM

        Man u might have an anger problem, you may need a doctors help, no need to be so uptight about sports. Get a life buddy. All I was saying is next season if GUYS LIKE Durant, griffin, Howard you know SUPERSTARS did it LBJ would go. Stop always trying to be an Internet tough guy your making a fool of yourself.

      • cantonbound13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:48 PM

        Hey, Move back, isn’t it you who bases where they live on being a fan of that team? Talk about taking sports seriously. I don’t have an anger issue, just trying to clear up all the misinformation you always spew out. Once again all those guys you mentioned have competed in the dunk contest, your wussy idol LBJ was always afraid to compete because he doesn’t want to fail. The great ones don’t even consider failing when they compete. MJ & Kobe won dunk contests, they are confident whatever they compete at they can win. I have more respect for people that challenge themselves & take risks. LeBron is too much like A-Rod & concerned about his image & hype that he’s afraid to fail. Hey Jordan competed in the 3 pt contest & lost, he also tried baseball & failed. LeBron doesn’t have the balls to take risks & challenge himself.

      • thenmoveback - Mar 2, 2013 at 3:22 PM

        Yeah I put out misinformation your delusional pal. And I never said where u live has to judge ur team, I said since u r a Knicks and dolphins fan somewhere along time YOU jumped on the bandwagon of one of those teams, learn to understand the words u read. U need help ur gonna give yourself a heart attack ( or maybe LBJ will give u one) with all ur hate its not healthy.

    • cantonbound13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 5:00 PM

      You’re so clueless & just spew out so much misinformation that you forget what you say. Your name on here represents your stupid beliefs. Your ignorant self wants all people living in Florida to be a fan of the Floida teams, or move back. Is that not taking sports too seriously? That is a prime example of someone needing to get a life! Of all the people I’ve had discussions on here with, you are far and away the most ignorant & full of hate. I actually am starting to feel bad for you.

      • thenmoveback - Mar 2, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Haha u really are crazy. I never said all this stuff you keep saying I said. My username is for the ppl who move to fla then do nothing but talk trash about the state and its teams (like I said earlier u need to understand the words u read). Ppl can like whatever team they want fla team or not. But what is the need to constantly talk sh!t like you do? There is no talking to you because you actually think guys like Wade and LeBron aren’t top players you just say they are cheap or dirty or on ped’s. And I’m not a hater like you! As much as I dislike the Knicks as a franchise I know Melo is a great player ( top 3 pure scorer IMO), I know chandler is a great D player. I respect the game and its players, but not all of us live in this fantasy world you do.

      • cordae - Mar 3, 2013 at 8:59 AM

        Canton, Durant has never competed in a dunk contest. Ironic, you calling out others on misinforming while….misinforming!..

  12. asublimeday - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:05 PM

    He’s a wuss. Scared of the spotlight and competition. That’s why he joined an all star team. Only way he can win.

    • uberdepressedbrownsredsfan - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      your an idiot

      • misterchainbluelightning - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:56 PM

        When calling someone an idiot, be sure you get your vs you’re correct

  13. leearmon - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    This is what I completely don’t understand about this “Lebron needs to participate in the dunk contest” phenomenon. Why hasn’t anyone pressured D-Wade? They both came in the league in the same year. Plus you could argue Wade is a better in game dunker than James. Just ask Kendrick Perkins

    Or how about Russell Westbrook? Or Kevin Durant?

    Bottom line is there are plenty of elite players in this league who do not take part in the dunk contest. Not because their scared or insecure, but because they don’t want to. But why is it that Lebron is the only one to come under fire? Not to mention he’s the best player on a championship team who is close to 30. Was that the case for Jordan, Kobe or Vince? No. We all need to get off this, and just appreciate his talents when the games actually matter.

    BTW this isn’t coming from a Heat fan.

  14. ninthwardfriend - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Magic please stop! Please, the sport’s world was with you through your high’s and low’s and Loved you despite. Stop!!!!

  15. money2long - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    ” If participating in the event had interested him at all in his 10 NBA seasons, you know what would have happened? He would have done it, and likely would have won it.”

    it DOES interest him, which is why he shows up every year sitting front row hogging all the attention by cheering after every dunk and getting all hype. what he doesn’t have an interest in is losing. and his bag of tricks against more flashy jumpers pales so he resists entering. maybe money would entice him. so good for magic if he holds on to his end of the deal.

  16. allinskins - Mar 2, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    At this point he has more to loose then to win. The only way the super stars possibly get back to the contest is if the Allstar weekend is tied to home field advantage for the championship. Similar to what baseball is doing but I admit it does not translate well for the NBA as a true incentive. Money alone is not going to do it. The best of the best alright have plenty as in LBJ.

    • jimbo75025 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Exactly why LBJ will never be seriously discussed among the GOAT Do you think Jordan was not worried about “Nique beating him? Winners want the ball and if you beat them, then they will just come back harder. LBJ took the cowards way out when he went to Miami to join Wades team just like he refuses to enter the slam dunk contest-the sting of failure haunts him until he accomplishes something ON HIS OWN with his own moment. Until that happens, he will simply remain a great player who might eventually work his way into the top ten. Those top few spots are hallowed ground though and I do not think LBJ has the guts to challenge them.

      • cantonbound13 - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:56 PM

        Well said.

      • borderline1988 - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM

        This whole ‘winner’ thing is such stupid dribble. Not every sports star needs to be this ‘ultra-competitive to the point of point a total jerk’ type of personality (i.e. Michael Jordan. Magic Johnson himself was not like that. Wayne Gretzky wasn’t like that.

        If LBJ wins 3 – 4 championships, wins 5 MVPs, and is clearly the best player in the league for a decade or more, than he is one of the GOATs. Who cares if Kobe loves shooting in the 4th quarter or is motivated by critiscm…LBJ already is and will always be a much better player than Kobe, b/c he makes other players better and is a complete player rather than a scorer and volume shooter.

      • money2long - Mar 2, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        lebron is a good 5 on 5 player. when it comes to the skills of the game, kobe has more game.

  17. acdc363 - Mar 2, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    just do it

  18. BigBeachBall - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:18 PM

    Does anybody else think Magic’s million dollar challenge is an attempt to cultivate a relationship that will result in Lebron wearing the purple and gold?

  19. rushbacker - Mar 2, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    LOL! Nothing like some no-name blogger attempting to lecture Magic freakin’ Johnson about what’s good for the NBA.

    • broncobeta - Mar 2, 2013 at 11:44 PM

      HAHAHA. This needs more up votes.

  20. bigwii - Mar 2, 2013 at 5:34 PM

    Thenmoveback thinks its hate just like the other heat fans can’t wait to see what they say when he leaves them too. Truth is LeBron has taken the easy way out his whole career and he’s protected by the media that make millions off of him. Jordan didn’t do that he took every challenge that was thrown at him. That’s all he was saying its not hate its a fact I’m sorry if people say negative things about him but he has done things to deserve that criticism its not “oh it’s just hating,” that’s ridiculous. Grow up.

    • thenmoveback - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

      Ha you don’t read the comments much huh? This guy is all over heat articles talking trash. When you go on articles about teams you don’t like and talk random crap About the best player in the world it’s hating. When u call players dirty and cheap and claim they are on ped’s ( and his proof for that his LBJ hairline) that’s hating. When the team you like is so uninteresting that you have to do nothing but talk trash about the better teams Your hating. Get a life

      • cantonbound13 - Mar 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        So sensitive, wow! I guess sports is all you got, pathetic! Hope you’re not losing too much sleep over the next ass whipping the Knicks are going to put on your beloved Heatles. Let’s see the great LBJ shoot over 60% in this game.

  21. caeser12 - Mar 2, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    Are BS, er ESPN employees even required to take Ethics Training?

    Really Magic?

  22. daddyghi - Mar 2, 2013 at 6:38 PM

    He might do it if he is up against superstars like blake griffin or dwight howard or probably kobe.. i think the only thing that prevents him from joining is he doesnt want to get embarassed by some unknown pogosticks…

  23. infectorman - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:30 PM

    Magic makes me SICK.
    He should donate the million to charity and stop throwing around money to watch a man slam a ball through a basket.

    LeBron should accept it, participate in the stupid contest and then donate all of the $ to charity.

  24. joerevs300 - Mar 2, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    All star games just make the rich get richer and are heirloom relics of halcyon days gone by. They should all be put out of their misery but as long as players get 50K, 100K or more for being chosen, and the NBA makes money hand over fist on them, it isn’t changing.

    LeBron needs to tell Magic to donate that $1M to someone in need vs. trying to influence someone worth probably 200 times that amount to participate in the Slam Dunk contest.

  25. bigwii - Mar 2, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Just like Heat fans telling anyone who shows any criticism to LeBron is a “hater” and has “no life” it is really annoying. I can’t wait until he leaves them just kike he did Cleveland so all these disrespectful Heat “fans” can come back to earth. I’ve never seen a fanbase with this much arrogance it’s amazing too because they never were like this before The Big 3 got there. They could barely sell out an arena. Now all if a sudden they tell other teams with perennial success that they “suck.” Teams that aren’t even rivals like Boston

    By the way Boston fans don’t consider them a rival never have they compare them to tics. Just wait you guys will be singing a different song after he leaves and you go back to mediocrity and we will all laugh at you how cocky will you he then no more “haters.” I have a life a pretty good one so if that’s your way of insulting me and everyone else your the one that needs to “get a life.”

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