The Best That Got Finessed: The Aaron Gordon Mishap


Article written on February 25th, 2020. 

February 15th kicked off NBA All-Star Weekend and it was one of the best yet. The Celebrity Game and Rising Stars Challenge were average as usual, but all of the other events were very entertaining. The Skills Challenge finals went down between two big men (Domantas Sabonis and Bam Adebayo). Adebayo came out on top. The Three-Point Contest was a nail biter. Devin Booker was money throughout the whole contest and put up 26 in the final round. In the end, that wasn’t enough as Buddy Hield put up a 27 point final round. The All-Star Game was great. While the scoring system was confusing, there was better defense (NO WAY?) and more effort on both ends. The Dunk Contest was awesome, but the results were quite controversial. That event angered many.

The 2020 Dunk Contest had four participants, as always. They were Dwight Howard (C/LAL), Pat Connaughton (F/MIL), Derrick Jones Jr. (F/MIA), and Aaron Gordon (F/ORL). Many thought this would be one to tune into.

Through the first two dunks, Aaron Gordon was the only contestant who had two 50 point throwdowns. Derrick Jones slightly edged out Pat Connaughton as he put up 96 points (over Connaughton’s 95). Howard had a few creative dunks, even honoring Kobe Bryant, but his point totals weren’t high.

Gordon and Jones Jr. would head to the finals. In the past, Aaron Gordon had some tough luck in the contest. In 2016, he faced off against Zach LaVine. Gordon threw down some of the most impressive dunks that the world has ever seen, yet the judges gave LaVine the trophy. Gordon came back in 2017, but struggled through the first two dunks. He only put up 72 points. AG didn’t participate in the 2018 and 2019 contests, so he decided that 2020 would be his year.

It looked promising as his first few dunks in the final round were spectacular. He received a few more 50’s, but Jones Jr. matched them. Jones even “copied” one of Gordon’s dunks and still put up a 50. His creativity lacked in the final round, but that did not stop the judges from handing out the top score.

The contest was tied at 500 a piece and the announcers said that this dunk would decide the contest. Jones’ last dunk was not one of his best, but Dwayne Wade gave him a great score. Many were annoyed that Wade gave Jones a good score because he also played on the Miami Heat.

Wade’s score shouldn’t have mattered. Gordon followed up DJJ’s 48 with a very impressive dunk, jumping over the tallest player in the NBA, Tacko Fall.  Some thought that Gordon didn’t clear Tacko on the way up, but nonetheless, it was awesome. Wade gave this dunk a nine and that was the deciding factor in the contest. His bias continued.

This showed that the scoring system and tiebreaker is corrupt. Gordon’s first two dunks equated to 100 points, while Jones scored 96. AG scored more points in the ENTIRE contest. The judges were giving out fifties like Costco gives out free samples. The dunk contest was way too repetitive and almost too easy. Gordon threw down more impressive dunks than Jones, but they would both get perfect scores.

Since Gordon plays for the Orlando Magic, I went to my friend George Castro (big Magic) and asked about how he felt about the result of the contest.

“I was shocked out of my mind, angry, and felt bad for AG. So many emotions running through my head. AG was completely robbed, and what made it worse is that this wasn’t the first time. He jumped over someone who was 7’5. The world record in the Olympics for the high jump is 7’1. Gordon had 5 50s in a row. He scored 597/600. He should’ve won. It’s highway robbery at its finest. He’s probably the best dunk contest dunker of all time and has nothing to show for it.”

Clearly, the contest brought out the passion from the Magic faithful. The dunk contest needs to be adjusted. The judges have to change to those who have efficiently done it before. Another big NBA fan is Emmett Gaffney. He believes that 50s should be less common and there should be a better “panel” of judges. He also thinks that both Gordon and Jones Jr. should have received 50s on their last dunks. Since the top score was given out so easily, their dunks should have had perfect scores. I believe that if the judges made a final choice, Gordon would have won. Personally, I feel bad for Aaron Gordon because he had two great performances and got zero credit. After the contest, Gordon was asked if he wanted to participate in another contest. He said that he believed that he should have been crowned in both contests and thinks he won’t participate in another one every again.