Aaron Gordon: 'My mentality is to do dunks that have never been done before'

Hot topic in Chicago is about MJ vs. Dominique or LaVine vs. Gordon
by Josh Cohen

CHICAGO – And the nominees for “Best All-Time NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest Duel Are…”

  • Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins, 1988
  • Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon, 2016

And the winner is….

Well, it depends whom you ask. It might even depend where you are from or where the question is being asked. Those from Chicago, where Jordan and Wilkins put on a spectacular show the last time NBA All-Star Weekend was in the Windy City, might favor the former – not just because the event occurred in their city but because their beloved champion was involved and beat Wilkins, MJ’s rival at the time.

If you ask Gordon, although he obviously has a dog in the fight, the latter is the winner. He and LaVine did things many didn’t think were humanly possible, they assert. Those who side with him in this debate would also point out that he and LaVine were awarded more perfect scores combined than Jordan and Wilkins received combined in their battle.

“If you are to look at the dunks and the difficulty of each dunk, you would be able to see which dunk contest was better,” Gordon said while on Thursday’s media circuit. “But obviously, Jordan and Dominique are legendary players, so for them to do the dunk contest is dope in its own right.”

Regardless of what side you are on, this is one of the hot topics gyrating across Chicago, the host city of this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend.

What Gordon hopes, no matter how hard it will be to match or exceed what he and LaVine did four years ago in Toronto or what MJ and Dominique did 32 years ago, is that the greatest dunk performance ever displayed in Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter, will be his own showing on Saturday night. With this being the final time he will be in the competition, the six-year NBA veteran would love nothing more this weekend than to bring the trophy to Orlando.

“It would be incredible. It would be one of the best things I’ve ever done,” he said.

Many believe Gordon is the favorite to win the competition this year. LaVine opted to participate in the three-point shootout rather than the dunk contest, so unfortunately A.G., who many think had 2016’s best dunks despite losing to LaVine, won’t be able to get revenge on the Bulls’ star, who was with the Timberwolves then.

Gordon’s opponents this time around shouldn’t be taken lightly, however. Dwight Howard, Orlando’s only dunk contest champion in franchise history, is participating in it for the fourth time in his career and first since 2009. Derrick Jones Jr. was the runner-up to Glenn Robinson III in 2017, the other year Gordon was involved. Pat Connaughton, the other entrant, has some serious hops, too.

Just how creative and innovative can Gordon get? Obviously, he’s not going to reveal what he has planned. But the 24-year-old says to expect a great show and to just sit back and enjoy his originality.

“My mentality is to do dunks that have never been done before and to have fun,” he said. “I think I might just take a chance.”

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