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Miami Heat’s LeBron James, commonly referred to as the best basketball player on the planet, has quite the resume: he's an NBA champion, All-Star, MVP, and an Olympic gold medalist.
But there is one trophy he has yet to put up on his mantle: dunk contest champion.
In the grand scheme of things, of course, winning the dunk contest is nowhere near as impressive as leading his team to a championship or his country to gold. Many of his fans, however, have clamored for the superstar to show off his athleticism in the dunk contest since he entered the league back in 2003.
Every year, James faces questions about the dunk contest, and pretty much every year he declines to participate.
Last year, however, James didn’t dismiss the proposition outright. In fact, he said he’d consider it if he was rewarded a million dollars for winning. James, who is earning over $17 million this year, doesn’t really need the money for himself. But as an active philanthropist, he could channel it over to his LeBron James Family Foundation.
The NBA isn’t dropping any hints about actually paying dunk contest winners a cool million dollars, so one fan, Chris Thomas or Newport Beach, decided to take matters into his own hands. He created a donation-based crowdfunding campaign on the site GoFundMe, encouraging fans to pitch in as much money as they can in hopes of convincing James to take part.
While the campaign features a million-dollar goal, Thomas says he will offer James whatever cash he can raise. If the superstar still declines to enter the contest, the campaign owner has promised to return all the money to the backers.
The campaign has been open for two weeks, and it’s a long way away from hitting the seven-figure sum: thus far, people contributed only $3,670. With two and a half weeks left before the NBA All-Star Weekend, donations could theoretically still reach to a tidy sum. Even if the campaign doesn’t make it all the way to a million dollars, perhaps raising a significant sum -- say, $100,000 -- could convince James to dunk in the contest.
Having James partake would go a long way in revitalizing the competition, which has fallen off considerably since the epic duels between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins back in the 1980s. And with prolific dunker (and past winner) Blake Griffin also saying he’d think about entering the contest again if he could win a million dollars, perhaps this is something the NBA should seriously consider.