Looking to follow up last years electrifying performance in the NBA Slam Dunk contest, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon looked to take home the crown for the first time.
After going toe-to-toe with defending champion Zach LaVine, Gordon came up short in the second overtime dunk. Gordon showed off an impressive array of dunks, some of which had never been seen in competition.
With LaVine out for the season with a torn ACL, he was not there to defend his crown. Instead, Gordon took on the likes of the Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, the Indiana Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III and Phoenix Suns high flying rookie Derrick Jones Jr.
Jordan opened the contest up by jumping over a D.J. stand, earning him a 41. Robinson followed with an impressive reverse slam, throwing it down with his left hand after jumping over two people... on each others shoulders. The dunk, which had been done before by dunk professional Jordan Killagon, earned the former Michigan product a 50, and put him in the lead.
Jones Jr, many people’s favorite to win, scored a 45 after jumping over a group of four Suns teammates on his second attempt.
The stag was set for Gordon to show off something never done before. Using props like he did last season, Gordon used a drone to drop the ball for an assist, but was unable to complete the between the legs dunk until his third attempt. Missing the attempts cost Gordon dearly, with the judges giving him a 38 for the dunk, putting him in last place.
After posting the lowest score after the first dunk, Gordon went first on their second attempts. He was unable to complete a 360 putting the ball under both legs, eliminating himself from the contest.
Gordon, who missed time with a foot injury recently, didn’t appear to have the same bounce that he usually does. The third-year forward will likely not use that as an excuse for his poor performance, but clearly something was not right with the Magic’s high flying forward.
Jordan joined Gordon as the first two eliminated, with Jones Jr and Robinson III moving onto the final round with a total score of 95 and 91 respectively.
Robinson opened the round with a windmill after clear star teammate Paul George. The dunk earned him a respectable score of 44.
Jones Jr struggled with his first attempt in the finals, missing all three attempts at a between the legs dunk over three people. The judges still gave the high flying rookie a 37 for his efforts.
The UNLV product had better luck on his second attempt, going between the legs off a bounce pass from just inside the free throw line. The attempt gave him a 50, and a chance at the victory.
Robinson III had other thoughts, once again bringing George, as well as the Pacers mascot out to jump over for a behind the head flush. The dunk earned him a 50, and a total score of 94 for the final round, giving the Pacers swingman the victory.
Robinson III becomes the second Pacer to win the contest, joining Fred Jones, who won the title in 2004.