Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon is done with the diss track, dunk contest, moving on to Playoffs

Aaron Gordon did not win the Dunk Contest trophy but he certainly won the people's vote. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Aaron Gordon did not win the Dunk Contest trophy but he certainly won the people's vote. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon allowed himself one more trip back to the Dunk Contest. But he says that is done now and it is onto the playoffs.

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon has talked about the Playoffs a bit when he has had the time to reflect back on a breakthrough 2019 season for his team.

He has said the experience was eye-opening for the young player. He had never felt the intensity and pressure of those games. Or the wall of noise that came his way in Game 2.

This whole season has been about getting back to that experience. But there have been bumps along the way.

Aaron Gordon struggled with injuries throughout the course of this season — first a jaw injury in the preseason and then an ankle injury that never seemed to fully heal and kept bothering him well into December. He could not find his shot. The Magic struggled to break through.

The only thing that seemed to break the malaise and provide some spark for the young forward. But even that was a bitter disappointment.

Gordon scored five perfect 50s before receiving a 48 on his final dunk — a dunk over 7-foot-6 Tacko Fall. The media attention quickly turned to Dwyane Wade‘s nine on the judge’s panel, especially with former Miami Heat teammate Derrick Jones Jr. taking home the trophy.

Gordon seemed to take that energy and turn it into some of the best basketball he has ever played — 15.4 points, 9.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game in nine games after the All-Star Break, including his first career triple-double.

With the season on hiatus, Gordon’s mind has wandered a bit. He released a diss track slamming Wade called “9 out of 10.” That hit the NBA social circles for a few days.

It culminated in Gordon finally accepting Wade’s invitation to join him on Wade’s Instagram Live show “The Wine Down.” And Gordon was still bringing some heat:

It seems Wade is good-natured over what happened. Gordon seems to be too. His diss track merely a bit of artistic expression and burning off any remaining frustration from the contest loss in a time when there is not a whole lot for a basketball player to do with the season on hiatus.

Any competitor would be upset over losing in overtime the way Gordon did. Let alone for it to happen twice with the crowd clamoring that he was the “actual” winner in the end.

Despite Gordon giving one last salvo on Friday night, Gordon seems ready to move on. He confirmed to First Take earlier this week that he is done with the Dunk Contest and wants to put his focus back on becoming a better player and making the Playoffs once again.

"“That’s the focus to be in the big game and win for Orlando,” Gordon told them. “It takes a lot of energy to be in the Dunk Contest. You’ve got to really work on that and practice it. I’m going to shift my focus.”"

That preparation for the Dunk Contest is very real. Gordon put a lot of thought into his three dunk contests and a lot of preparation time into them. Yes, that was time not put into the season at hand in at least some way.

The show was worth it to some degree. But Gordon is right that it is time in his career to focus on the playoffs and becoming a better player to help his team win on a bigger stage.

That was a clear lesson from last year. Real success is ultimately what matters.

After the Orlando Magic stunned the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of that series, the Magic probably felt a little big and full of themselves. It was hard not to after that win. But then the Raptors really locked in. The crowd got loud in Game 2 and the Raptors put the screws on the Magic for a gentlemen’s sweep.

Gordon accorded himself well in that series. He averaged a team-high 15.2 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game in the four-game series. Kawhi Leonard still put up MVP-like numbers but Aaron Gordon acquitted himself well.

That had him seemingly poised for a breakout 2020 season.

Frustratingly, that has not come to pass. Gordon struggled throughout the season, averaging 14.4 points per game and a 47.9-percent effective field goal percentage. All of his offensive numbers dipped. Gordon failed to take that leap the Magic needed him to make.

Not until the All-Star Break.

Only the boredom of not having games seems to have taken Gordon’s focus back off the playoffs to rehash the Dunk Contest.

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It looks like all this is behind him now.