2020 NBA All-Star Saturday Night Recap


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Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic dunks over 7’5 Tacko Fall of the Boston Celtics.

Blake Kingsbury, Photojournalist

The NBA All-Star Saturday Night is something that many sports fans look forward to every February. The night never fails to deliver unforgettable moments in all of the three events that take place. This year’s All-Star Saturday Night, held in Chicago, Illinois, was certainly no exception to that regularity. 

Before the more popular events took place, fans got energized by watching the Skills Challenge. The Skills Challenge is a competition consisting of eight of the NBA’s most all-around skilled players. These players have to navigate through a course that consists of layups, dribbling, and a three-point shot. Two players go against each other at the same time, and whoever finishes the maze first is the winner. This always causes lots of drama, as sometimes the player’s basketballs will collide with each other’s while they shoot the three-point shot. The Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo went home as the winner of the challenge, defeating Domantas Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers in the final round of the contest.

In the Three-Point Contest, the rules are rather simple; contestants have a minute and ten seconds to shoot five balls from five racks placed around the court from behind the three-point line. Normal basketballs are worth one point, and multi-colored balls (known as “moneyballs”) are worth two points. New to the contest this year was the addition of two green “Dew balls”, which were worth three points. Whichever of the eight players has the highest score at the end of the competition, wins the trophy. This year’s contest had a thrilling ending; Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings edged out Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns on his very last shot in the final round, bringing his score to 27, one greater than Booker’s 26.

The Slam Dunk Contest was the final and most anticipated event of the night. The players in this year’s contest included: Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat, Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks, and Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic. In the dunk competition, all four contestants dunk twice and are given a score on a scale of 5-10 by five different judges. The scores given by the judges for the certain are added up, and whichever two players have the highest total scores after the first dunks move on to the final round to perform three dunks. 

The two players who moved on to the final round were Jones Jr. and Gordon. Both of their three dunks in the round were so good that a two dunk tie-breaker had to be accessed to determine the winner. Gordon would make a dunk that many considered to be one of the best in the history of basketball in the tie-breaker, as he dunked over 7’5 Tacko Fall of the Boston Celtics, one of the tallest players in the history of the NBA. However, to the complete shock of everyone watching, the dunk only scored a total of 47 from the judges, one lower than the score of 48 given to Jones Jr. on his last dunk. Jones Jr. would walk home as the winner. Many fans showed their displeasure about this decision on social media, especially towards former NBA star Dwyane Wade, as several believed he showed bias towards his former teammate Jones Jr. by giving Gordon a score of 9/10 on his improbable dunk.

Jordan Amling (12) said about the events during the dunk contest, “I thought it was a top three All-Star Saturday of all-time.” When asked about the decision on Gordon’s miraculous dunk, he stated, “He was 100% robbed because of Wade’s bias towards his friend. He should have won in 2016 as well instead of Zach LaVine.” Although Aaron Gordon may not be in the history books as a Slam Dunk Champion, so many will consider him as one. It was certainly another All-Star Saturday night to remember this past weekend.