Dunks Out: An Investigation Into The Dwyane Wade Dunk Contest Judging Controversy

The 2020 NBA Dunk Contest was an instant classic, with Derrick Jones Jr. and Aaron Gordon going dunk for dunk and needed extra time to decide a champion. Jones was named the winner after his final dunk, a windmill from just inside the free throw line, received a 48 and Aaron Gordon’s dunk over Tacko Fall received just a 47.

Much like his loss to Zach LaVine in 2016, there were many that felt Gordon was robbed, but this time, there is a maybe legitimate judging controversy that played a role in his victory. You see, noted Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade was among the five judges for the dunk contest and was one of the three judges to give Gordon’s second dunk a nine. This may have been nothing, but the way things went down seem, well, a bit fishy.

For one, fellow judge Common insinuated afterwards that there was something of an agreement on the panel that they would give Gordon a 48 as well, but someone messed it up.

Candace Parker would later confirm this plan to Shelburne, although she wouldn’t reveal exactly who messed it up so as not to throw anyone under the bus.

Chadwick Boseman and Scottie Pippen were the other two judges that gave Gordon a nine, and the video below shows the moment the scores were revealed. Before they appeared on the screen, Wade was removing his headset and preparing to walk off set. You can also see — as captured in the screenshot after the video — that Common and Scottie Pippen appear stunned and are staring at Wade.

Even Giannis Antetokounmpo appears to mouth “This is rigged” as the camera cuts away from him. Funny enough, it was rigged, but rigged to continue the contest and someone chose to end it right then and there.

Wade is as connected to the Heat organization as anyone and for this to happen with a Heat player involved made for immediate Twitter fodder. That there was apparently a decision made among the judges to let the contest continue — or take it to some other form of vote — and someone went rogue, only makes Wade’s presence and immediate, almost knowing reaction compared to his stunned colleagues, stand out all the more.

Now! He is not the only potential culprit, as Scottie and Chadwick are not clear from being questioned. One of them may have misheard the apparent plan or gone rogue on their own, knowing the entire world would turn to Wade as the immediate culprit. However, it is pretty clear that the leading suspect in this rather hilarious — and to be clear, very much not important in the grand scheme — scandal is Mr. Dwyane Wade.