Aaron Gordon on dunk contest judges – who may have colluded: 'C'mon man ... I'ma find 'em'

Yahoo Sports

CHICAGO — Aaron Gordon assumed it was a 50. Or at least good enough to take home the slam dunk contest crown he felt he’d been robbed of in 2016.

Instead, he was robbed again on Saturday night at the United Center. And after losing out to Derrick Jones Jr. in a dunk-off, he had some pointed thoughts. Namely: “C’mon man. What we doin’?”

Gordon, after five perfect scores, vaulted over Tacko Fall, and tens of thousands rose to their feet in anticipation – assumption – of a sixth 50. Instead, Gordon got a 47. “I don't even know who gave me the 9s,” he said afterward. “I'ma find 'em. Trust me, I'ma find 'em, I'ma find 'em tonight."

He was half-joking. Half-smiling. Only half, though. He clearly felt aggrieved. He had qualms with the competition’s structure.

“Really, we're here to do four dunks,” Gordon continued. “So out of four dunks, it should be the best out of four dunks. I did four straight 50s – five straight 50s. That's over. It's a wrap. Let's go home. Four 50s in a row in an NBA dunk contest, it's over. But I don't know. Who's running the show?”

Aaron Gordon during the 2020 NBA All-Star slam dunk contest. (AP Photo/David Banks)
Aaron Gordon during the 2020 NBA All-Star slam dunk contest. (AP Photo/David Banks)

The answer is the judges – who, according to a report, tried to collude to extend the dunk-off to another sudden-death round, but failed to collude correctly:

Two 9s and three 10s would have extended it. The third nine – from either Dwyane Wade, Chadwick Boseman, or Scottie Pippen – ended it. So what went wrong?

Did Dwyane Wade rig the vote?

If we take Common at his word, and accept that a tie, via collusion, was the agreed upon outcome of the judges, there are two possible explanations for how Gordon’s score ended up at 47 instead of 48.

The first is that the judges didn’t communicate properly. That each of Wade, Boseman and Pippen thought one of the others was going to give a 10. And that it was an honest mistake.

Then there are the conspiracy theories. And there aren’t not legs to them.

The other possible explanation is that one of Wade, Boseman and Pippen promised his conspirators that he’d give a 10, then gave a 9 instead. Why might Boseman or Pippen have done so? No clue.

Why might Wade have done so?

Well ...

Dwyane Wade hugs Derrick Jones Jr. after playing his final home game in Miami. The two were teammates. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Dwyane Wade hugs Derrick Jones Jr. after playing his final home game in Miami. The two were teammates. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The evidence suggests that Wade, whether purposefully or accidentally, was at fault. Even before the scores were revealed, he had a smile on his face while the other four judges were calm. When the third nine was revealed, all eyes and heads turned right to Wade:

(Screenshot: TNT)
(Screenshot: TNT)

Wade tried to deflect blame in an interview hours after the event. But his words weren’t exactly convincing.

Gordon knew none of this when he stepped to a United Center podium. But he was already semi-pissed off. Enough so that he appeared to retire from dunk contests in frustration. He was asked if he wanted to win one before he called it quits.

“No, it's a wrap, bro. It's a wrap,” he responded. “I feel like I should have two trophies, you know what I mean? It's over for that. My next goal is going to be trying to win the 3-point contest.”

Twitter reacts to Jones over Gordon

The rest of the sports universe had similar feelings about Gordon’s 47 on his final dunk.

The real problem, however, is that the dunk contest got to this point in the first place. A better judging scale would have ended it in Gordon’s favor earlier.

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