When five 50s aren’t enough: The Aaron Gordon dunk contest story


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 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:

Naturally, Gordon was upset as well — so upset that he said he’s done with dunking for us all on All-Star Saturday Nights.



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.

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