Friday I pleaded to stop the madness and obsession over the made up controversy swirling around LeBron James and his dunking. No less than 24 hours later, Magic Johnson put up $1 million dollars on national television to try to entice LeBron James to participate in next year's dunk contest.
I kid you not. One. Million. Dollars. Here's the video evidence from Friday night's ESPN NBA studio show…
This is stupid on so many levels.
First of all, as has been widely reported, the dunk contest winner already gets $100,000, so it's not like these no-name NBA players are competing for free. Second of all, what's $1 million dollars to LeBron James, who makes that much money every night in his sleep? (Or Magic Johnson for that matter, who has spent something along the lines of eleventy bajillion dollars on the Dodgers.) Third of all, ESPN is already promoting Magic Johnson's challenge/offer/desperate attempt at publicity with its own #MagicMillion hashtag (which is really taking off on Twitter). Fourth of all, if LeBron actually accepts this offer, he does nothing but look like a selfish, greedy SOB that's only in it for the money. (See Decision, The.) Fifth of all, it's yet another manufactured story and controversy originating from ESPN out of thin air. Sixth of all, it's just a colossal waste of everyone's time with the 2014 Slam Dunk Contest a mere 11 and a half months away.
Let's break this down and follow it to its logical conclusion, though. Let's say LeBron actually accepts this preposterous offer. Is he the only one to get $1 million as an entrance fee of some kind? Does the million go into the purse for the winner of the contest (again if only LeBron participates)? If that's the case, do other NBA stars become interested? Let's say Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook become interested. Who gets left out? What happens to the rebuilding of LeBron's image if he races towards the dunk contest not because of the fans, but to chase Magic's million. Maybe he really needs a few upgrades to his home entertainment center, who knows. I don't want to be "that guy" but wouldn't everyone be better off if Magic Johnson had offered to donate a million dollars to the charity of next year's winner's choice?
To his credit, James isn't taking the bait thus far, nor should he. It's just another distraction created by the media that has nothing to do with his play on the court. Could you imagine the media being so bored by Michael Jordan during the early or late 90's that national television analysts would have to wave a million dollars in front of him to compete in an exhibition contest? Please!
It's just another excruciating example of today's media creating a worthless story out of nothing. Instead of appreciating the amazing season LeBron James is having, instead of finding something relevant to say about it, instead of an analyst… I don't know… analyzing the actual game of basketball (?!?!), we're left with this dunk contest debate that feels like the sports equivalent of reading again at a third grade level. We've been here. We've done this. Enough.
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