Magic Johnson has thrown down the gauntlet when it comes to LeBron James and the NBA All-Star dunk contest by offering a $1-million prize to the winner.
Well, $1 million to the winner if James, who has never participated, enters the contest. One would suspect that James would win since he's gained notoriety for putting on a pregame show with an array of dunks that would easily get him to the finals.
The legendary Lakers guard made his plea on ESPN's nationally televised pregame show on Friday evening.
''Please, LeBron, get in the dunk contest," Johnson said. "I'm going to put up a million dollars. A 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.''
The dunk champion is now paid $100,000 while the runner-up gets $50,000.
The biggest problem currently with the dunk contest, which began in 1984, is that big-name players aren't participating. In the '80s and '90s, superstars such as Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkens and a kid named Kobe Bryant entered and won.
Nobody of that stature participates today. Dwight Howard in 2008 was the last star to win the contest, and that was a bit of a freak show since centers don't usually takes part.
Blake Griffin won it two years ago, but he wasn't nearly the player then that he is now.