Aaron Gordon will look to join Dwight Howard as the only Orlando Magic players to win the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on Saturday night in Chicago.
Throughout the history of NBA All-Star Weekend, there’s been a number of participants from Orlando. Excluding the All-Star Game itself, here’s a look back at all the Magic players to take part in the Friday and Saturday night events.
Slam Dunk Contest
Otis Smith (1991)
The first Orlando player to participate in NBA All-Star weekend, Otis Smith was part of the Slam Dunk Contest in 1991. Unfortunately for Smith, he finished seventh of eight participants. Boston’s Dee Brown was the winner.
Nick Anderson (1992)
The Orlando Arena hosted the 1992 All-Star Game and on the eve of the contest, the Magic’s first-ever draft pick had a solid performance. Nick Anderson finished third in the Slam Dunk Contest behind Cedric Ceballos and Larry Johnson.
Darrell Armstrong (1996)
A fan favorite in Orlando, Darrell Armstrong is infamous for one of the worst Slam Dunk Contest performances ever. Armstrong finished last of six contestants in 1996. Brent Barry of the Los Angeles Clippers was the winner.
Dwight Howard (2007-09)
The only Orlando player to win the Slam Dunk Contest, Dwight Howard finished third in 2007 before winning it in 2008. In 2009, Howard finished second to New York’s Nate Robinson.
Victor Oladipo (2015)
The Magic went six years without a participant in the Slam Dunk Contest before Victor Oladipo was selected to take part in it. Oladipo reached the finals, but finished second to Zach LaVine.
Aaron Gordon (2016-17, 2020)
Aaron Gordon will tie an Orlando record by participating in his third Slam Dunk Contest this weekend. In 2016, it’s easy to make the case that Gordon was robbed as he finished second to Zach LaVine in a second tiebreaker. In 2017, Gordon finished last of four contestants.
Nick Anderson (1995)
The only member of the Magic to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest and 3-Point Shootout, Nick Anderson finished sixth of eight participants in 1995. Charlotte’s Glen Rice was the winner.
Dennis Scott (1996)
The first Orlando player to reach the finals of the 3-Point Shootout, Dennis Scott reached the final in 1996. After making 19 treys in each of the first two rounds, he was defeated by Washington’s Tim Legler in the finals, 20-14.
Pat Garrity (2001, 2003)
The only member of the Magic to participate twice in the 3-Point Shootout, Garrity finished fourth both times. There were eight participants in 2001 and six in 2003. The winners in those years were Milwaukee’s Ray Allen and Sacramento’s Peja Stojakovic.
Mike Miller (2002)
In between Pat Garrity showings was a Mike Miller appearance. Unfortunately for Miller, he finished sixth of eight participants with 10 makes. Stojakovic was the winner.
Rashard Lewis (2009)
Rashard Lewis came the closest any Orlando player has ever come to winning the 3-Point Shootout. After tying Miami’s Daequan Cook in the finals, Cook topped Lewis easily in the tiebreaker, 20-7.
Ryan Anderson (2012)
The NBA’s Most Improved Player for the 2011-12 season, Ryan Anderson could have had a better night in the 3-Point Shootout. Anderson made 17 treys, but that was only good enough for fifth out of six participants. Minnesota’s Kevin Love took home the trophy.
Arron Afflalo (2014)
The last Orlando player to participate in the 3-Point Shootout, Arron Afflalo finished just seventh of eight contestants in 2014. San Antonio’s Marco Belinelli was the winner.
Jameer Nelson (2009)
Jameer Nelson was scheduled to participate in the Skills Challenge, but a torn labrum kept him from participating. He was replaced by Cleveland’s Mo Williams.
Victor Oladipo (2014)
In 2014, the Skills Challenge was broken up into four teams. Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams combined to finish second. The duo finished just 0.1 seconds behind Utah’s Trey Burke and Portland’s Damian Lillard in the finals.
Elfrid Payton (2015)
Under the 2015 match-up format, Orlando’s Elfrid Payton was the No. 4 seed in the Skills Challenge. He lost in the first round to Atlanta’s Jeff Teague.
Nikola Vucevic (2019)
A day before playing in his first All-Star Game in 2019, Nikola Vucevic was defeated by a Denver Nuggets’ center with the same first name. Vucevic fell in the first round to Nikola Jokic.
Shooting Stars Competition
Jameer Nelson and Dennis Scott (2012)
Jameer Nelson teamed with the retired Dennis Scott and Marie Ferdinand-Harris of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury to take part in the Shooting Stars Competition in Orlando. Unfortunately, the Orlando team finished last of four teams.
Anfernee Hardaway (2015)
Anfernee Hardaway was representing the Magic in 2015, but was the legend for Team Westbrook with Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Tamika Catchings of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever. They reached the final, but lost to Team Bosh, consisting of Chris Bosh, Swin Cash and Dominique Wilkins.
Rising Stars Challenge
Anfernee Hardaway (1994)
As a rookie in 1994, Anfernee Hardaway scored 22 points on 8-for-9 shooting and was named the game’s MVP. Unfortunately for Hardaway, his Sensations team lost to the Phenoms, 74-68.
Mike Miller (2001-02)
Mike Miller’s team went 0-2 in the Rising Stars Challenge. After scoring 11 points for the Rookies in 2001, he tallied seven points and 11 assists for the Sophomores in 2002.
Dwight Howard (2005-06)
Dwight Howard went 1-1 in the Rising Stars Challenge. He scored 14 points for the Rookies in a loss in 2005. In 2006, Howard tallied just four points for the Sophomores in a win.
Jameer Nelson (2006)
Jameer Nelson was slated to play in the 2006 Rising Stars Challenge, but an ankle injury forced him to miss the game. He was replaced by his college teammate, Delonte West.
Andrew Nicholson (2013)
As a rookie for Team Shaq, Andrew Nicholson scored six points on 3-for-4 shooting. Team Shaq was defeated by Team Chuck, 163-135.
Nikola Vucevic (2013)
A member of Team Chuck in 2013, Nikola Vucevic finished with 15 points on a stellar 6-for-8 shooting.
Victor Oladipo (2014-15)
Victor Oladipo went 0-2 in the Rising Stars Challenge. In 2014, Oladipo scored 13 points for Team Webber in a 142-136 loss to Team Hill. The following year, Oladipo led Team USA with 22 points and four steals. Team USA fell to Team World, 121-112.
Elfrid Payton (2015-16)
Also a member of Team USA in 2015, Elfrid Payton scored just two points. The following year, Payton was held scoreless in a 157-154 win for Team USA.
Mario Herzonja (2016)
For Team World in 2016, Mario Herzonja had a solid performance. Herzonja finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in the 157-154 loss.