4. Feb. 15 — Aaron Gordon’s Dunk Contest
The highest-profile moment for the Orlando Magic came during All-Star Weekend. Back when fans could gather en masse and celebrate the game together.
The weekend was a celebration of Chicago basketball. It was a weekend of mourning over the tragic death of Kobe Bryant. It was a chance to see the game played by its best in an intense way thanks to the Elam Ending implemented for the fourth quarter of the All-Star Game.
Then there was the Dunk Contest. A contest befitting the city it was held in and holding up to the legendary 1988 contest.
Aaron Gordon was robbed of a Dunk Contest victory in 2016. He and Zach LaVine put on a show for the ages — a duel worthy of that 1988 contest and the battles between Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins. He was disappointed in a second go-round in the contest.
The third time should have been the charm. Gordon certainly earned it with each revolution and powerful throw down.
Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. once again played to a tie. He had one more great dunk — pulling Tacko Fall out of the crowd and jumping over him — and then controversy ensued. Somehow that dunk garnered a nine from two of the judges, including more famously Dwyane Wade.
Gordon had nothing to be ashamed of though. He was once again the People’s Champion and the talk of the Dunk Contest heading out of it.
He leveraged it into a shoe deal with Chinese company 361 Degrees and a few tracks for musical interests and projects. Everyone had to do something during the pandemic hiatus.
This was a moment Magic fans celebrated and the rest of the league took notice of. It boosted Gordon’s play throughout the rest of the season.
The only thing that was missing was the trophy for Gordon’s trophy case.