His first time in the Dunk Contest, Aaron Gordon wowed the crowd. His second time, he disappointed.
We’ll soon find out what he’ll do the third time around. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that Gordon will once again take part in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, which is being held on Feb. 15 in Chicago.
Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon has committed to the NBA Slam Dunk contest at All-Star weekend in Chicago, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Gordon joins Dwight Howard and Derrick Jones Jr. as commitments so far.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 30, 2020
Gordon had long been rumored as a possible participant, but with myriad injuries this season to his ankle, calf and Achilles, it would have been understandable if he were to sit this one out. Perhaps this is an indication that AG is finally fully healthy, which would bode well for the second half of the season for the Magic.
As of this moment, Gordon will compete against the Heat’s Derrick Jones Jr., and the Lakers’ Dwight Howard, who won the 2008 Dunk Contest while with the Magic. The hope is that, with the All-Star Game being held in Chicago, Zach LaVine will commit, giving the world the rematch we have been waiting for since 2016, when the two took part in what was arguably the best Dunk Contest in the history of the competition...
Gordon, who won in the eyes of many who weren’t official judges, went down as the greatest Dunk Contest loser of all-time.
Gordon retuned to the contest the following year and attempted a creative dunk where the ball dropped from a drone flying above, but he was unable to execute it and was eliminated after two dunks.
Gordon didn’t compete in the 2018 contest, telling Sports Illustrated, “This event takes a lot out of you when you approach it as seriously as I do.” Gordon then opted to skip the 2019 Dunk Contest to concentrate on his all-around play.
“No, I’m not doing it [this year],” Gordon told Yahoo Sports at the time. “It’s more focusing on winning and becoming a complete player and getting to the playoffs.”
While Gordon did help the Magic get to the playoffs, his follow-up this season has not included the leap many were expecting/hoping Gordon to make. Gordon’s scoring has regressed in each of the last three seasons, dropping from 17.6 points in 2017-2018 to 13.3 points this season (while shooting a career-low 41.8 percent). That isn’t stopping AG this time around.
I’m all for it. It makes All-Star weekend more enjoyable for Magic fans, who likely won’t be watching any other Orlando representatives (unless Markelle Fultz is invited to the Skills Competition). Hopefully the third time’s a charm for Gordon, and he adds some classic dunks to our ranking of the Top 20 Orlando Magic’s Dunk Contest dunks.