Aaron Gordon became a household name in February when he, seemingly out of nowhere, put on a performance for the ages at the 2016 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He walked to the court in a tuxedo, his bow tie undone, and twirled his cane around with the swagger of a man fans may have heard of before. Except his intro routine was met with blank stares (especially from the stoic All-Stars at courtside) and mild applause, while Zach LaVine at least got a bro-hug from Drake.
Kenny Anderson summed Gordon’s lack of notoriety up best when he shouted, “I didn’t know he had that; I saw him in Arizona, I saw him in Orlando, but I don’t see this!” He was shouting because everyone in the Air Canada Centre was losing their minds over dunk after dunk from the former Arizona Wildcat, especially his unforgettable leap over mascot Stuff’s head that should have won Gordon the trophy. (LaVine even said after the contest that he was sharing the trophy with Gordon because he “did some stuff I’ve never seen before.”
On Tuesday, Gordon gave us another flash of his potential, when he stripped Philadelphia 76ers forward Richaun Holmes of the ball and took it home for an unnecessary but certainly fantastic 360 dunk. Sixers fans didn’t enjoy it very much, but it’s still very much an early dunk of the year contender.