A Letter to My First Poster Victim: You're Not Alone

Aaron GordonSpecial to Bleacher ReportFebruary 12, 2016

PHOENIX, AZ - DECEMBER 09:  Aaron Gordon #00 of the Orlando Magic during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena on December 9, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

(Editor's note: Before his first NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, Bleacher Report asked Aaron Gordon to reflect on a moment he'll never forget—his first poster dunk.)

I can't remember your name, but I want to apologize to you for dunking on you so viciously. Not because I didn't mean to but because you couldn't do anything to stop it.

So...sorry, not sorry.

I mean, you didn't really see it coming. A drop step from a freshman in high school put you on a poster—my first poster. You were probably caught up in the moment, thinking about how close that 2010 first-round NorCal game was between my Mitty Monarchs and your Fairfield Falcons. Actually, you might not even remember the dunk because we knocked you out of the playoffs on a buzzer-beater in that same game.

Yeah, I had the assist on that one too.

Even if you don't remember, I do. It was early in the fourth quarter, and you stepped up to help on my point guard when he got into the lane. But you lost contact with me. First mistake. When I caught the pass from my point guard on the right block, I knew you were too late to recover.

Lucky for you, there's no video of the dunk! But—phew—we do have photos. Let's look at it frame by frame:

YouTube

YouTube

Instinct took over from there. I didn't even think. It was just catch and finish.

YouTube

If I slow it down in my mind, I realized how close I was to the rim when I jumped, and from there it was knee in your back, stretch that right arm as far as it'll go and...one-hand crush.

I'll be honest: There was some adrenaline involved, and I was a little surprised. But probably not as surprised as you.

Anyway, I hope your head is OK and your back isn't too sore from where my knee hit it. But most of all, I hope your ego didn't take the hardest hit. I know it was difficult hearing the crowd go crazy, and I bet it was even tougher watching me walk to the free-throw line to shoot the and-1.

YouTube

If it makes you feel any better, that skinny, 6'7", 195-pound freshman went on to posterize many more people and is still very much in the poster-making business. And you were the tipping point.

Before that poster, I had only ever dunked on fast breaks. But after it, the lid was off. I was dunking on tip-ins and alley-oops. That play taught me I could dunk in traffic, and I've been doing it ever since. So, thanks.

Think of yourself as the first customer. Or at least know you're in the good company of some D-I and NBA players now. I guess what I'm saying is you're not alone.

So, keep your head up. And maybe just step out of the way next time.

 

Follow Aaron Gordon on Twitter, @Double0AG.