The 2020 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk contest at the United Center in Chicago already had the potential to be memorable Saturday night.
2008 winner Dwight Howard was returning! Pat Connaughton was participating for the first time! Derrick Jones Jr. was back after coming in second back in 2017! And Aaron Gordon was ready after narrowly missing out on the crown in 2016!
Howard and Connaughton earned one 50 each, but neither made it to the final. That stage was reserved for Jones and Gordon.
Orlando Magic forward Gordon was particularly impressive, scoring 50s with his first five dunks of the night. The Miami Heat's Jones earned two 50s in the championship round along with Gordon, forcing a special dunk-off round. That's where things took a turn.
After Jones and Gordon each scored 50 with their opening dunks of the extra round, Jones took off from just inside the free throw line with a windmill. The judging panel that included Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker, Common, Chadwick Boseman and Scottie Pippen gave Jones a 48.
Gordon leaps over Tacko, but Jones takes slam dunk trophy
Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. face off in the final round of the dunk contest, going to overtime before Jones prevails.
Gordon then brought out Boston Celtics two-way contract center Tacko Fall, completing a dunk over the 7-foot-5 big man. But to the horror of all (outside of Miami), the judges gave Gordon a 47, awarding Jones the victory.
Outrage ensued -- particularly because Gordon watched Zach LaVine edge him out in a similarly extended 2016 contest. We haven't seen folks this upset at an all-star exhibition since that baseball game that ended in a tie:
2 🏆 should have been rewarded tonight that's for damn sure!! Keep it a buck y'all. 🤦🏾♂️!! Them boys both put on a show! Professional DUNKERS— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 16, 2020
AG GOT ROBBED AGAIN #BS— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) February 16, 2020
Tacko Fall says that Aaron Gordon dunk was not planned. "I was scared for my life"— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 16, 2020
y'all just made my decision easier 🤝💯 https://t.co/RNV80N0cIY— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) February 16, 2020
@Double0AG bro you can have my trophy. I'm heated. 🤬🤬🤬— Terrence Ross (@TerrenceRoss) February 16, 2020
what? 🤷🏼♂️— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) February 16, 2020
Kenny known for pullin a Omar and robbin sombody in a dunk contest...— andre (@andre) February 16, 2020
The right guy won.... Kenny wasn't behind the judges table....— andre (@andre) February 16, 2020
Dunk contest judge @Candace_Parker -who gave Aaron Gordon a 10-tells ESPN, "I ain't throwing anyone under the bus .... buttttt check the score card."— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) February 16, 2020
That was legendary... but damn they did Aaron wrong again🤦🏽♂️— Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) February 16, 2020
Can't have the dunk contest be at the level, then end it like that smh....— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) February 16, 2020
GTFOH!!!!!— Nikola Vucevic (@NikolaVucevic) February 16, 2020
I feel sick for AG man. You re the people champ bro @Double0AG !!!❤️❤️— Evan Fournier (@EvanFourmizz) February 16, 2020
The crowd's reaction when they found out AG lost. pic.twitter.com/cIJGHNhZhj— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 16, 2020
Naturally, Gordon was upset as well -- so upset that he said he's done with dunking for us all on All-Star Saturday Nights.
Gordon says he's done with dunk contest
Aaron Gordon tells Rachel Nichols that he's disappointed he didn't take home the dunk contest trophy but says next year he's pivoting his efforts to the 3-point competition.
If Gordon does return to dunking, Jones did say he's open to a rematch ... but that might be a tough sell after Gordon's three losses in the competition.
Interviewed Derrick Jones Jr for @SportsCenter - he said if Aaron Gordon thinks he should have won, he's welcome to come back for a rematch next year. 👀— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) February 16, 2020
Mood 🏆🏆 pic.twitter.com/rh2Nuzjn1g— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 16, 2020
"Whoever want to step out in front of me, I'm there. I'm not going to shy away from nobody."— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) February 16, 2020
Ready to defend that title ✈️ pic.twitter.com/qhQOMNofIW