Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon should have one NBA slam dunk contest trophy.
But at least one.
He has none.
Though he has more 50-point, perfect score dunks (eight) than any player in NBA history – more than Michael Jordan, more than Zach LaVine – Gordon stands alone as the league's best dunker without a crown.
“Growing up as a little kid, that’s something I dreamed of – winning the NBA dunk contest trophy,” Gordon says in the opening to the documentary short "Mr. 50" that follows him through the 2020 event during All-Star Weekend in Chicago.
The genesis of the documentary began with the idea to give viewers a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his weekend.
“But it turned into something more,” Gordon said. “My friend and filmmaker Aaron Chapman chopped it up in a way that I had never seen before. It was much more artistic, much more poetic and raw.
“The message I wanted to get across is to conquer your fears and be satisfied in your actions more than the outcome.”
Gordon must believe in that message because the outcome of the 2020 dunk contest was not in his favor. The argument can be made that it should have been.
He isn’t participating in this year’s dunk contest (Sunday, TNT) and is unlikely to participate in another one. This years abridged version of the event, which will take place during halftime of the All-Star Game on Sunday, will feature Portland Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simmons, Pacers guard Cassius Stanley and Knicks rookie Obi Toppin.
Gordon lost to LaVine in 2016 in one of the greatest dunk contests with the two players combining for six consecutive 50-point dunks in Toronto. The 2016 duel revived the event that turned stagnant.
His desire to win the event prompted him to participate last season, and he didn’t disappoint. Gordon crafted five perfect scores but lost to Miami’s Derrick Jones Jr. in another high-flying spectacle that had fans and players engaged.
But the contest had its rules altered and saw suspicious judging, especially from Jones’ former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade. The judges claim they were trying to orchestrate a tie (which isn’t allowed anyway) and Wade went rogue.
Three of the iconic dunk contest slams of the past decade belong to Gordon – floating in a sitting position eight feet off the floor and over the Magic mascot in 2016 and the off the side of the backboard twirling 360 slam and the leap of 7-foot-5 Tacko Fall last season.
“That’s not a 50, that’s a 70,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said after Gordon soared over Fall.
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