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Shaq's slam proposal losing traction

1/21/2010 - NBA

CLEVELAND -- So far, Shaquille O'Neal's proposal for a superstar dunk contest to raise money for Haiti hasn't left the ground.

On Tuesday night, O'Neal suggested that he would love to see his Cleveland teammate LeBron James take part in the NBA's All-Star dunk contest, but only if former champions Vince Carter, Kobe Bryant and another unnamed star also joined the field.

O'Neal said he wanted a large prize, with half of the money going to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Carter, who won the contest in 2000, declined the offer and said Orlando teammate Dwight Howard could do it. Miami's Dwyane Wade heard about O'Neal's idea and supports the effort to raise more money -- he has already donated a one-game check of about $175,000 -- but won't dunk, either.

"Nobody should feel obligated to do anything they don't want to do," Carter said. "I did make Tracy [McGrady] get in the dunk contest in 2000, but he could have said no. It's up to the individual."

Only defending dunk champion Nate Robinson of the New York Knicks was behind O'Neal's philanthropic plan.

"That seems like an awesome idea to me," he said. "For Shaq to say something like that, that'd be pretty cool and pretty awesome."

Put on the spot during a TV interview while watching last year's event, James said he would consider dunking this year in Dallas. It seemed as if James was trying to get some of the league's top players involved, but none of the game's premier dunkers wanted in and James recently decided not to participate after hedging for months.

He has been criticized for ducking out.

"LeBron said he would be in and he should be in it," TNT's Charles Barkley said earlier this week. "I think there are certain things that guys should do just for the good of the game. Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins didn't have to be in the slam dunk contest but they understood they were trying to push the game.

"It would be great for the game if LeBron was in it."

James was not available for comment on Wednesday because the Cavs did not practice. Bryant and the Lakers were traveling to Cleveland.

On Monday, the league announced Shannon Brown of the Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte's Gerald Wallace and Robinson would take part in this year's dunk event. The fourth spot in the field will be determined in a dunk off between Toronto rookie DeMar DeRozan and the Clippers' Eric Gordon.