News Column

LeBron Shrugs Off Magic Johnson's $1 Million Dunk Offer

March 4, 2013

Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel

LeBron James (file photo)
LeBron James (file photo)

Challenge deferred.

Before Friday's telecast of the Miami Heat's home victory over the Memphis Grizzlies, ESPN studio host Magic Johnson said he so wanted to see LeBron James compete in the dunking contest during All-Star Weekend that he personally would pay $1 million to the winner if the Heat forward competed.

James, who has bypassed the event in each of his 10 seasons, initially shrugged off the offer.

Sunday, Johnson, this time working in ABC's studio during the Heat's 99-93 victory over the New York Knicks, reiterated the offer.

"What I would like him to do is own NBA All-Star weekend, like [Michael] Jordan did," the Hall of Fame point guard said. "He's only owned the All-Star game itself. Come in on Saturday like you do on Sunday and own that event the way MJ did it."

Following his 29-point performance, James, who Sunday eschewed the pregame dunking theatrics that had drawn so much focus on his abilities, was asked where the offer stood.

"Right now, I don't know," he said. "It doesn't really stand anywhere. Right now, I'm so focused on what we're doing as a team."

To James, the offer appeared to come off as as much of a nuisance as those who had questioned his pregame dunking theatrics.

"Shoot, All-Star weekend is how far away?" he said of next February's showcase in New Orleans. "So I'm really not thinking about right now. It was entertaining to hear him say that, though."

In initiating the dialogue, Johnson said Friday, "Please LeBron, get in the dunk contest. 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."

As it was, James injured his left knee while going for an alley-oop pass from teammate Dwyane Wade during Sunday's third quarter, with X-rays coming back negative. He said he is hopeful of being able to play in Monday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center.



Source: (c)2013 the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) Distributed by MCT Information Services


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