Aaron Gordon Robbed of Slam Dunk Title (Again)

TORONTO, ON- FEBRUARY 13: Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon celebrates a dunk during the NBA's All-Star Saturday Night. Where players compete in three events, the Skills Challenge, 3-point shooting and Slam Dunk at the in Toronto. February 13, 2016. (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

Aaron Gordon was robbed of his rightful title as slam dunk champion for the second time in four years. Now, perhaps the greatest dunker in dunk contest history has nothing to show for his herculean efforts.

Aaron Gordon Should be a Two-Time Dunk Contest Champion

Highway Robbery

In 2016, Zach LaVine took home the dunk contest title in perhaps the greatest showdown since Michael Jordan took on Dominique Wilkins in 1988. Gordon came in as the runner-up, despite having one of the greatest dunks in contest history. The contest came down to a “dunk-off”, and LaVine edged Gordon out at the last second.

Gordon posted one of the most memorable dunks of all-time when he went underneath his legs and over the Orlando Magic mascot, but it was all for naught.

It was an absolute travesty that Gordon walked away empty-handed, though LaVine put on a performance for the ages. In 2020, Gordon had the chance to redeem himself and earn a long-coveted dunk contest title.

History Repeats Itself

For the 2020 version of the contest, there were two rounds. Of four contestants, the two with the highest scores in the first round would advance to the championship. They would then dunk twice to determine the winner. Gordon posted a perfect score of 100 (50 points for each dunk) in the first round to advance to the finals. He would take on Derrick Jones Jr. who posted a solid 97 in the opening round.

Both contestants would go on to post a perfect 100-point round in the Finals. That brought Gordon’s total to an unprecedented 200-for-100, while Jones scored 197. However, the first round numbers didn’t count towards the final tally.

The disappointment was in Gordon’s eyes before the “overtime” period. He stood to the side, signaling his belief that he should have to prove no more to earn the crown. But, to his dismay, the show had to continue, fair or not.

In his second “dunk off” in four years, Gordon posted yet another perfect 50 with his first slam, earning all 250 possible points through five dunks. With one dunk to go, both players still sat in a tie.

Jones notched a 48 in his final outing, bringing his dunk contest total to 295. Gordon — despite jumping over 7’6 Tacko Fall — only earned a 47 on his final dunk, falling a single point short of hoisting the trophy. Overall, he earned 297 of 300 possible points.

Aaron Gordon: Greatest in Dunk Contest History

Gordon may very well be the greatest dunker in dunk contest history. Full stop. He is overwhelmingly the greatest since Vince Carter wowed the world nearly 20 years ago. He has crafted some of the single most phenomenal dunks humanity has ever witnessed, yet he has nothing to show for it other than highlights in his “losses”.

Gordon’s rare mix of freak athleticism with incredible creativity will surely leave a legacy of flash and spectacle that may never be matched again. To rob him of not one, but two NBA Dunk Contest titles is criminal, but hopefully, history will remember him as he should rightfully be remembered; the greatest to ever participate in the dunk contest.

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