Stop your whining! Derrick Jones Jr. is the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk champion and he earned it! It’s almost been a week since DJJ’s victory and all the talk has been about Dwyane Wade, Aaron Gordon, and how the former was bias and the latter was robbed… What a bunch of malarkey! Yeah, I said it! Malarkey! The evidence available proves DWade was not biased in favor of DJJ and that Gordon was given an advantage on more than one occasion. Let’s examine!
In round one, DJJ missed on his first dunk attempt. Dwyane Wade stated live on the broadcast that he personally penalizes for missed attempts (3:57). The result was DJJ receiving a few 9s, including one from Wade. Aaron Gordon came up for his dunk after DJJ, and missed his first attempt. He followed his miss with a successful dunk. DWade this time, again live on the broadcast, stated he usually penalizes but wouldn’t for Gordon (6:32). Not one judge penalized Gordon for his miss and he earned a 50. DWade favoring one player over the other, huh?
Chadwick Boseman was the one judge least likely to favor one guy over another and proved he was unmoved by sentimental gestures. For instance, Dwight Howard received a 49 for his superman dunk (9:34). The dunk was not all that spectacular and if it wasn’t for the tribute to Kobe, no one would have thought of giving it a 10. Boseman is the only judge that did not bite. The rest gave Howard 10s. This is evidence that Chadwick Boseman was one of the most reasonable judges during the contest.
Now Pat Connaughton completed a dunk where he jumped over someone taller than him, like Gordon’s final dunk, but he did a bit more (11:46). Similar to Gordon, he grabbed the ball from the back of the taller players head, but before dunking it and different from Gordon, Pat tapped the backboard with the ball then dunked it. Now if we are ignoring misses, a theme for Gordon, this would be the better feat between the two dunks. Pat clearly cleared Giannas and made the Dunk. Gordon went for a shoulder ride for the same score. The point of a prop is to prove you can clear it, not dunk on it. There’s no way these should get the same score right? Maybe that’s why he dunked over Chance so many times… Didn’t want to take to big of a chance.
Now, everyone focused mostly on the final matchup, which is understandable, but missed the mark with their criticisms. In the final round, Derrick Jones Jr. completed a dunk said to have never been done in the Dunk Contest before. A combination that included a lob off the backboard, taking the ball through his legs, while jumping over someone (18:19). He earned a 50, and I’m not sure anyone can provide a reasonable explanation as to why he shouldn’t have.
Gordon then performed a dunk some have said was the best dunk in the contest (18:47). He earned a 50 for it, but it was made on his second try. Wait, he missed his first attempt? Gordon had already been given a pass for a miss. No pass has been given to DJJ that led to a perfect score. Misses were supposed to be penalized. DWade again broke his own rule in favor of Gordon. If Gordon had received a penalty for his miss, as others had before him, he would have lost at that moment. He should have! DJJ as champion was justified from this point. However, he was given another pass by every judge. How can anyone say the contest was rigged against Gordon? What about the DWade bias in favor of DJJ?
Other dunks were given 50s to both finalist that they both probably didn’t deserve. That’s probably why Shaq came over to investigate what was in the judges’ beverages. The thought was to keep the show going. But this led to the final two dunks. Everyone who believed the contest was rigged conveniently leave out the misses and broken rules that benefited Gordon and should have ended the show earlier. They cite the Tacko Fall dunk as the deciding factor. But the shoulder ride, as we’ve already discussed, was done better by Pat Connaughton and not worthy of a 50. That was obviously not the case.
Because Gordon failed to clear Tacko, and a similar but better dunk has been witnessed earlier, it’s reasonable for a judge to dock a point or two. No judge took away more than one point. DWade, the guy who broke his rule twice for Gordon, gave him a 9. Far from biased. Chadwick Boseman, the guy who seemed most objective and unmoved by the theatrics, gave him a 9 as well. Scottie Pippen, the other judge who was quiet throughout for the most part, also gave Gordon a 9. I see no individual abuse of discretion by the judges.
There was no fix. There was no bias against Gordon. The evidence shows the judges favored him throughout the Dunk Contest. But at the end, the judges finally made unbiased decisions as their sympathy for previous years wore off. Everyone from players and fans to the media cried foul all week long and swore they were done with the dunk contest. We all know you’ll be back next year ready to complain again. Just be sure to pay attention to the facts next time around.