This article originally appeared on VICE Sports USA.
They used to say Vince Carter, but now they might be saying Zach LaVine—or, perhaps better: Aaron Gordon. Zach LaVine cleaned up in last year's competition, and it seemed like he destroyed all hope of toppling him with a few early beautiful dunks. But then came Aaron Gordon. Oh my.
This dunk competition is going to go down as one of the all time greatest, simply because not one, but two competitors showed up to ball hard. Hell, they should have given the judges more than 10 points a piece—because it'd be criminal to give them less than a 10 on any of them. But eventually, the math gave way to relativity, and Gordon was edged out on a (relatively) sub par dunk.
Even though LaVine eventually took it, Gordon's above dunk is the clear overall winner. His use of the Orlando mascot (seemingly a Lisa Frank dragon) was superb. Great visuals, ridiculous height (his eyebrows were at the rim), and a deeply satisfying slam.
Here's a few others that dropped mad jaws.
In my humble opinion, the above clip was LaVine's best of the night (and his first). The angle of movement, the smoothness. It was nasty. And below we have what is probably Gordon's second best on the night—God, it's like choosing a favorite child—with the illest implementation of a hoverboard and a mascot you've ever seen. Gordon was truly thinking about the future with this one. So much pow-wa on that hoverboard, it could even work on water.
Goddamn. Can it get any spicier? Lordy me, LaVine with the self-lob through-the-legs reverse? Fucking yikes:
Then we've got a sans mascot Gordon flying through hyperspace with that torque. Hoooweee. I could watch these for years.
But, alas, all good things must come to an end, and so LaVine had to put it to bed. He had a couple other dunks that were Jordan-inspired—from the free throw line—but this through-the-legs stunner finally brought the house down. I don't think a single person in that room sat down all night. Just nasty.
There's only one feeling to sum up how the whole night felt, and it belongs to this boy—suspended in a moment of pure wonderment.
Take that, imagination. Mind blown.