A NBA Dunk Contest With Ten Million To The Winner

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Earvin Magic Johnson Puts His Money On Lebron James

Earvin Magic Johnson Puts His Money On Lebron James
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat might the most watched team in the NBA but unlike most games, viewers and fans tune in even before the game starts. The lay-up line gets the more oohs and aahs than the actual game. Lebron James has made the pregame warm-ups more exciting than the actual dunk contest. Earvin “Magic” Johnson reportedly and jokingly offered James a million dollars to enter the contest next season. Not surprisingly, there hasn’t been a reply from ‘the chosen one’.

In light of Johnson’s offer, who would you choose if you had ten million dollars to bribe ten NBA players to enter the dunk contest? My choices would surely get the television ratings at an all-time high.

It would be a dunk contest not to be missed. I would give each a million dollars. and they would have to participate while putting that money in the pot. The winner would come out with a ten million dollar payday. He would then donate half to a charity of his choice and pocket the rest.

Who would win? I am sure you are asking yourself that question. That would all depend on who judges. I wouldn’t have the fans vote via email or text. I wouldn’t have a panel of five legends either. I would have NBA players vote. Every player would get a vote on a secure website. That way, it wouldn’t be a popularity contest, but the top dunker would win on that night. Of course the format would have to discussed, but who cares about that when you have these ten dunkers pleasing the crowd?

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Toronto Raptors: Terrence Ross

Toronto Raptors:  Terrence Ross
Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Terrence Ross, of the Toronto Raptors. This year’s champion would have to be invited. His gangly loosey-goosey style reminds me of Will Smith, aka the Fresh Prince, dunking on the small hoops at Bel-Air Prep. Ross would be hard pressed to repeat as victor against the rest of the participants.

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Miami Heat: Lebron James

Miami Heat:  Lebron James
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Since Earvin Magic Johnson called him out, Miami Heat's Lebron James is invited as well - or should I say bribed. He is a mix of power and grace when he goes above the rim. He reminds me of Shawn Kemp who himself made a living off of attacking the rim.

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Los Angeles Lakers: Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers:  Kobe Bryant
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The oldest competitor in the contest would be Kobe Bryant from the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant, a past winner in 1997, would bring back a style reminiscent of Michael Jordan. Bryant's desire and drive to win at everything he tries would make this an interesting competition.

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Oklahoma City Thunder: Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder:  Kevin Durant
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The contest wouldn’t be true without Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant. Unlike Lebron James, he makes every dunk look effortless. His wiry body with his long arms would make almost every dunk imaginable possible. He is our generation’s dunking Larry Nance.

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Los Angeles Lakers: Dwight Howard

Los Angeles Lakers:  Dwight Howard
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Past champion and reigning Superman, Dwight Howard would have to take part. Hopefully, the Los Angeles Lakers star would bring some new dunks with him, and not rely on the cape and costume. Maybe he could actually dunk a ball and not throw it in this time around.

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Denver Nuggets: JaVale McGee

Denver Nuggets:  JaVale McGee
Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

JaVale McGee is the league’s whipping boy, but when it comes to dunking, there is no questioning his ability. The Denver Nuggets big man has length much like Kevin Durant’s and he can also jump out of the gym. If he could just harness his athletic ability and have someone teach him what dunks might actually look good, he would have a chance every time to impress.

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Los Angeles Clippers: Blake Griffin

Los Angeles Clippers:  Blake Griffin
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

An invite with some money in the envelope would be sent out to the Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin. Griffin wouldn’t have the bearded Baron Davis helping him this time around. He is all power but needs to add some grace to his dunking if he thinks he can repeat against this group.

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Atlanta Hawks: Josh Smith

Atlanta Hawks:  Josh Smith
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith, of the Atlanta Hawks, would get another shot at winning the contest. He reminds everyone of Dominique Wilkins with his two foot take-offs and his power at the rim. He can show grace while almost touching the top of the backboard. He would have to come with more creativity this time.

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Chicago Bulls: Derrick Rose - Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook

Chicago Bulls:  Derrick Rose - Oklahoma City Thunder:  Russell Westbrook
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

The two sleepers in the pack would be point guards Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Chicago Bulls very own Derrick Rose. Both have unlimited jumping ability and take off with either or both feet. The small guy always looks better having more hang time getting up to the rim. These two have talent in abundance and it wouldn’t surprise me if they each have spectacular dunks hidden in their back pockets.

Shahab Khan is a Basketball and NBA Columnist with Rant Sports focusing on the Toronto Raptors

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