Did Aaron Gordon get robbed in the Slam Dunk Contest by the judges, who handed the title for a second straight year to Zach LaVine? Until Kobe Bryant takes the floor in the All-Star game for a final time, that’s probably the main discussion point (and secretive trades) in Toronto as the NBA All-Star Weekend gets closer to its crescendo.
Gordon pulled off one of the most difficult dunks ever performed in the contest: Taking the ball from the mascot’s hand, doing the between the legs midair which made it look like he’s sitting in midair over the mascot and dunking the ball. It seemed his repertoire, which included a 360 while taking the ball from the mascot rotating on a hoverboard, deserved the four scores of 50 like LaVine had.
Maybe the NBA decided it’s time to cut things short and not let the competition run into another round. Maybe it’s just a matter of hype. LaVine was hyped as the favorite, the crowd reacted more to his dunks and the league seemed to push LaVine’s achievements more, like calling his impressive between the legs dunk “from the foul line” when he had at least a foot beyond it when he started elevation.
This is just the dunk contest, not something people should take too seriously. But Gordon has a hothead brother who takes these things a little too heavily. Maybe he’s the only one, but people making memes decided Gordon got robbed, and that’s that. Like they say in Boxing: To beat the champion, you usually have to knock him out. Gordon might have been better than LaVine, but it wasn’t by a knockout, which helped the brain trust of Shaquille O’Neal, Dikembe Mutombo, Tracy McGrady, George Gervin and Magic Johnson, decide LaVine should retain his dunking belt.