Timberwolves fans, we put together a list of the most rewatchable moments in their 30-year history. This is part of an 11-part series at SKOR North. We’ve decided to roll out the games/events in chronological order.
In what could possibly be the greatest dunk contest in NBA history*, Zach LaVine took on Aaron Gordon in a showdown that took sudden death overtime to separate the two.
Entering the contest, Zach LaVine was looking to repeat as a champion, after defeating Victor Oldaipo in the final round of the 2015 dunk contest. He was listed as the favorite in 2016 after showing off some incredible athleticism and creativity in the previous year’s competition.
In 2016, the field was LaVine, Gordon, Detroit Pistons big man Andre Drummond, and Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton. Drummond and Barton each started off the contest with subpar dunks, paving the way for Aaron Gordon to come out in a tux, throw down a one-handed reverse dunk, scoring a 45 from the judges.
Next up was Zach LaVine, coming out to Drake’s song “Back To Back” (fitting that the 2016 All-Star Weekend was in Toronto, home of the rap star) in an effort to tell everyone watching that he was going to repeat as champion. He wasted no time, bouncing an alley-oop to himself and throwing the ball behind his back, finishing with a reverse, earning a perfect 50 from the judges.
LaVine’s next dunk was an alley-oop from the free-throw line, catching the lob from former Timberwolves legend Andre Miller. He missed his first attempt, but finished the second, jumping from the actual free throw line instead of two feet in front of it like we see most players do. He earned a 49 for this dunk, as he received a 9 from Shaquille O’Neal, who said he didn’t give LaVine a 10 because he didn’t make it on his first attempt.
The finals were set. Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon. In the final round, Aaron Gordon pulled off what was perhaps the greatest dunk contest dunk of all-time, as he jumped over the Orlando Magic mascot, who was holding the ball over its head, and put the ball under his legs. LaVine was up next, needing a 50 to tie. He one-upped his previous free-throw line dunk by jumping from the same spot, only this time, he threw down a windmill dunk. As you can probably guess, that was scored a perfect 50. Overtime.
LaVine and Gordon were neck in neck, each scoring three straight dunks with a perfect score of 50. With his final dunk of the night, Aaron Gordon double-pumped the ball and threw down a nasty reverse dunk that would have been a 50 any other dunk contest, but only received a score of 47.
Zach LaVine was up next, only needing a 48 to win, which seemed easy after scoring 50 after 50 all night long. He, once again, one-upped himself with the free-throw line dunk, this time going with a between-the-legs dunk from the free-throw line, naturally earning him a 50 and the trophy.
Gordon’s dunks were incredible, and many people believed he got robbed of the win, but Zach LaVine was just as good, if not better. In all honesty, anyone who had the honor of watching that dunk contest was the real winner.
FULL CONTEST HERE:
*Sorry, all of you MJ vs. Dominique stans…