The Staples Center was treated to one heck of a show on Saturday night thanks to the four competitors in the dunk contest. All of the dunkers mixed flair, explosiveness, and creativity, but in the end, Donovan Mitchell came out on top. The rookie star for the Utah Jazz threw down four crazy dunks, two earning 48s and two earning 50s.
Mitchell made it to the final round against Larry Nance, and the pair managed to throw down four dunks. But Nance’s 96 couldn’t top Mitchell’s 98, which was topped off with one heck of a tribute to Vince Carter.
Here’s how things broke down.
Donovan Mitchell: 98 (48, 50)
Larry Nance Jr.: 93 (44, 49)
Dennis Smith Jr.: 89 (39, 50)
Victor Oladipo: 70 (31, 40)
Mitchell’s first dunk set the tone, as he threw the ball off of one hoop set a few feet behind the main basket, caught it, windmilled, and yammed.
Nance’s first dunk took two attempts, but he decided to pay tribute to his father. Nance hopped into a quick change tent, threw on his throwback Suns gear (short shorts and all), and rocked the cradle.
In round two, Smith — and I hope I get all of this — broke out a reverse 360 dunk in which he went between the legs and threw down with his left hand. It was crazy, and absolutely deserved a 50.
Nance’s one-handed windmill was great, and normally would have been the kind of dunk that propels him into the final round…
…but Mitchell was having none of it, exploding over a group of people (led by Kevin Hart) for a one-handed jam that he caught off the side of the backboard.
Donovan Mitchell: 98 (50, 48)
Larry Nance: 96 (46, 50)
Both Mitchell and Nance were able to earn 50s in the final round. Mitchell needed to go full extension to catch his 50, while Nance had the best dunk final with this insane double tap.
Mitchell was able to harness the power of Vince Carter to come out on top, though, busting out the classic Raptors No. 15 uni and doing Carter’s classic 360 windmill dunk from the 2001 competition.
Mitchell wasn’t supposed to be in the contest at first, as he was announced as a replacement for the injured Aaron Gordon. Good thing he entered, though, because he was able to put on a show.