Just when you thought LeBron James couldn’t find himself in another lose-lose situation, Magic Johnson has made him an offer he can’t refuse.
After not participating in the Slam Dunk Contest again this year, LeBron James has brought more “unwanted” attention to himself by performing dunk contest-worthy dunks during warmups for Miami Heat games. Unsurprisingly, doing so has brought out the fans and critics, all of whom wonder why LeBron won’t do the actual dunk contest itself. You can now count NBA legend Magic Johnson among those critics.
Magic laid down the gauntlet Friday night, putting his money where his mouth is in confronting LeBron with a look towards next year’s contest.
And for the video-impaired:
“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.”
No response from LeBron just yet, but that’s probably for a good reason. What could his response possibly be?
If he says “no,” not only is he continuing to be a troll for not doing the actual dunk contest while having his own personal dunk contest before every game, but he’s also disrespecting a legend of the game, one of three reasons (with Bird and Jordan) the NBA is where it is today, and, let’s face it, his spirit animal in Magic Johnson. As much as LeBron may not want to do the contest, when Magic asks you to do and is willing to pay, you kind of have to do it, no? None of today’s players would not be able to make the kind of money they make today without what Magic did for the NBA in the ’80s, nor would they have a blueprint for off the court success.
But if LeBron simply says “yes,” he also finds himself in hot water. It takes $1 million for you to do the dunk contest? You’re already making upwards of $30 million per year in salary and endorsements. How greedy can you get? Why not donate that money to charity? Why not raise $1 million for cancer research, or the Boys and Girls Club, or some other organization other than the LeBron James Bank Account Fund? Even proceeds from his ill-fated “Decision” went to charity. You can’t donate this money to a charitable organization?
My recommendation? LeBron needs to just do the dunk contest so that people will stop talking about it and so he can easily escape some criticism. And he needs to either decline Magic’s offer and just do it for the normal prize money or accept the offer and donate the $1 million to charity. He can make that $1 million back by pulling a Blake Griffin and dunking over a box of Samsung Galaxy Notes. Anything less than that and he’ll still be criticized, whether he likes it or not.