Add former Los Angeles Lakers point guard and current ESPN analyst Magic Johnson to the droves of people who want LeBron James to enter the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest. Only unlike most, Johnson seems ready to put his money where his mouth is.
According to ESPN's Jalen Rose, who works with Johnson on the set of ESPN's NBA Countdown, the Lakers legend is willing to put up $1 million for LeBron to enter the dunk contest:
Jalen Rose @JalenRose
@MagicJohnson just announced that he would put up $1,000,000 for @KingJames to enter the dunk contest. #staytuned2013-3-2 01:11:26
Now let's pump our brakes a little bit. It's wholly possible that Johnson was being a bit facetious. After all, simply giving away $1 million is a pretty tall order for anyone—even someone whose net worth has been estimated somewhere between $550 and $770 million, per Yahoo! Sports.
However, if Magic is indeed serious about his on-set Dr. Evil impersonation, it may be time to get excited about a possible LeBron-headlined contest in 2014.
Throughout his career, fans, analysts and just about anyone associated with the NBA have desperately tried getting James to enter the dunk contest to no avail. That fervor only heightens when the Heat star soars through the air for a titillating in-game dunk or throws down a slam in pregame warm-ups that is better than anything we've seen in the past half-decade.
James has long been seen as the one man who could bring relevance back to an event that has been uninspiring as of late. The dunk creativity has stagnated over the years, and fan interest has waned as they see a constant stream of players who can barely get off their own team's bench competing.
To put it another way, it would not simply be about James' dunks in and of themselves. James' superstar presence would create enough excitement to make All-Star Saturday Night feel special again, like when Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins captivated audiences.
The problem is there has been a lack of incentive for James and players of his ilk to enter the contest. If Johnson is serious about his $1 million offer, then it may be Showtime in New Orleans next season.