LaVine and Gordon Bring Back Dunk Contest in Epic Finale
That is all I can say about this dunk contest, as I was just jumping off my seat throughout the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest. Especially in the finale between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon.
In case you’re not completely aware of the format of the dunk contest, I’ll explain briefly:
There are four participants; Andre Drummond (DET), Will Barton (DEN), Aaron Gordon (ORL), and defending champion Zach LaVine (MIN).
To begin with, the contest consists of two rounds. In the first round each participant has to perform two dunks, and allowed 3 attempts to do so. The two top dunkers with the highest combined score, will then move on to the championship round. They will be allowed two dunks each and the participant with the highest combine score will be awarded the winner. Finally, the participants will be scored on a 6-10 scale by five judges; George Gervin, Dikembe Mutombo, Tracy McGrady, Shaquille O’Neal and Earving Magic Johnson.
To start off the contest, Nugget’s Will Barton started the night with a reverse between the legs, two handed dunk. In which he received a score of 44.
To follow, Piston’s Andre Drummond attempted his dunk from behind the basket. He went on to fail on his first two attempts, but was able to perform an off the bounce reverse slam. But due to his failed two attempts, he received a score of 36.
Third up was Magic’s Aaron Gordon, who was first known prior to the NBA Draft as a high flyer for the Arizona Wildcats. And he proved that early on, performing a 360-reverse between the legs one handed slam. Gordon received the highest score thus far with a 45.
The final participant is Timberwolves, and 2015 defending Sprite Slam Dunk Contest winner Zach LaVine. LaVine came off the gate jumping, throwing himself an off the bounce pass, where he put the ball behind his back and finishing with a one handed reverse slam. In which LaVine received a perfect 50 from the judges.
On Drummond’s second attempt, he brought along Canadian, Steve Nash to help him out. Unfortunately, Nash struggled to flip the ball up with his feet as it took him six tries to get it to Drummond. When Nash did complete the pass, Drummond performed an ally-oop windmill that lacked the power that the 6’11 279 Lb. big man can impose. That along with the continuous attempts, Drummond received a score of 39.
Next up was Barton, who disappointed and failed to complete the self bounce pass 360 windmill dunk dunk in his three attempts. Barton received a 30 and then eliminated from the contest.
To follow up was Gordon, who brought along the team’s mascot who arrived in a hoverboard. The mascot held the ball by the top of its head, while still on the hoverboard. Gordon leaped over the mascot, while grabbing the ball and putting it between his legs finishing off with a one handed slam. Gordon received a 49, with Shaq being the lone judge giving Gordon a 9. In doing so, Gordon officially eliminated Drummond.
And last up was LaVine, who was already a lock for the championship round. LaVine received an ally-oop, soaring just inside the Free Throw line in which he received a 49. With Shaq once again be the lone judge to give out a 9.
In the championship round, it was Gordon versus LaVine, one destined for a good ending but no one could’ve predicted this. Gordon and LaVine had the world buzzing and the crowd erupting as they continued with jaw dropping dunks one after another.
First off was Gordon who once again brought the Magic’s mascot on the hoverboard. The mascot then proceeded to spin on the hoverboard while holding the ball out for Gordon to correctly time and perform the dunk. Gordon completed the dunk on the first try while the crowd exploded with the never before seen slam in which he received a perfect 50:
LaVine countered strongly, performing a similar dunk, tossing the ball up in the air to himself, added with his own windmill twist. LaVine also received a 50, tying the contest thus far.
Gordon came back even stronger, again bringing out the mascot to assist him. The mascot stood still holding the ball over his head, as Gordon leaped over the mascot while putting the ball under BOTH of his leg and completely the one handed slam. Gordon broke the internet, and many were already crowing the young fella as received another 50.
LaVine didn’t back down, and reminded us all why he was last year’s winner. LaVine ran down the court, leaping just inside the Free Throw line while performing a windmill slam…I repeat a windmill slam from just inside the Free Throw line. And in doing so, the judges also gave LaVine a 50, tying the contest.
As a result of the tie, the contest continued as both players had two more attempts to duel out the champion.
Gordon brought along a new assistant, this time teammate Elfrid Payton. Payton went on to throw the ball off the side of the board, as Gordon caught the ball and threw down a reverse-spinning two handed slam. Gordon once again received a 50.
LaVine once again rose to the challenge, catching the ball off the bounce from behind the backboard and putting it between his legs, while throwing down the two-handed slam from under the rim. LaVine once again received a 50 keeping the contest tied.
On Gordon’s final dunk, he brought the ball back behind his head, then bringing it back and dropping the ball between his legs, and slamming the two handed reverse. Unfortunately Gordon’s perfect score run came to an end as he received a questionable 47.
For the last dunk of the night, LaVine completed a between the legs dunk from just inside the Free Throw line, receiving another 50 and winning the competition.
With LaVine winning the contest, this marks his second consecutive championship matching his walk out music, Drake’s “Back to Back.” Although LaVine took home the trophy, it’s hard to argue Gordon wasn’t a winner in his own right. Both players had performed dunks for the ages, and could go down as one the best dunk contest ever. Even if not, these young fellas brought back the contest and will have all of us counting down ’til next year’s event.
Christian Mena covers the NBA for MyFantasySportsTalk.com, you can follow him on Twitter @Christian_Mena3
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