This one will go down as one of the most entertaining Dunk contests of all time.
The 2016 NBA’s slam dunk contest that preceded the All-Star game in Toronto was littered with disappointing and mediocre performances in the preliminary rounds. This changed in the final when Minnesota Timberwolves’ shooting guard, Zach LaVine, and Orlando Magic’s powerful forward, Aaron Gordon taught us that the only solution to a slam dunk contest was to stage a sensationally befitting finale that is worth the ‘grand slam’ name.
This highly talented duo produced one of the most memorable slam dunk performances in recent memories. Their spirited competition and gravity-defying abilities that pushed each other to the limits was a true expression of basketball’s ultimate athleticism. They took the slam dunk contest to unparalleled heights that are arguably better than the well-regarded battle between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins in 1988. Fact of the matter is; LaVine and Gordon produced much better dunks, better than Vince Carter’s virtuoso act in 2000, which was more of an exhibition than a true competition.
Even though LaVine walked away with the winner’s hardware at the end of it, the pair produced some memorable dunk tricks that had never been witnessed before. Their captivating duel pointed out that the revered contest between Jordan and Wilkins in 1988 was slightly overrated, especially due to its lack of originality.
For instance, one of the most memorable slam dunk skills in recent years involved doing windmill dunks from inside the dotted circle. In exceeding this and cementing the 2016 slam dunk contest to a classic status, LaVine histrionically did the famed windmill dunk not from the dotted circle, but from the free throw line.
On his part, Gordon ensured that this slam dunk contest deservedly achieved a legendary status when he skillfully grabbed the ball from a mascot spinning on a hoverboard before jumping over him to dunk. To make it even more dramatic and original, he did it for a second time, but differently. This time, he grabbed the ball from the spinning mascot before going for a 360 dunk.
At the beginning of this befitting finale, almost everybody thought that Gordon would struggle with being theatrical and flashy (these features are often are attributed to guards) because he is a big forward. He however, proved everyone wrong by showcasing plenty of flashy flares that he incredibly combined with his enviable athleticism. With every coming round, Gordon seemed to upping the ante and would have easily won the contest if LaVine wasn’t standing in his way to glory.
LaVine won the slam dunk contest for the second year running to join other greats such Jordan, Nate Robinson and Jason Richardson as the few back-to-back winner of the slam dunk title, and in his own opinion, he thought that this was the best slam dunk contest ever. The duel will not only be arched in our memories for LaVine’s feats, but also for super-unbelievable performance from Gordon.