Donovan Mitchell Beats Larry Nance Jr. in NBA Dunk Contest as Twitter Erupts

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz receives the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest Trophy during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night as part of the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend on February 17, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. 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.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell defeated Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. in the 2018 NBA Slam Dunk Contest at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday.

Mitchell paid respect to Vince Carter with his winning dunk, and there was no shortage of Twitter reaction to his performance.

As seen in the following video, courtesy of the NBA's official Twitter account, Mitchell donned a throwback Toronto Raptors Carter jersey before pulling off a dunk that Vinsanity completed in his 2000 win:

ESPN's Stan Verrett marveled at the fact Mitchell was paying homage to an active player:

Ben Baby of the Dallas Morning News took issue with Mitchell's lack of originality, however:

FS1's Skip Bayless expressed his belief that Mitchell's first finals slam was enough to garner him the victory even if reviews on the Carter redux dunk were mixed:

In one of Mitchell's earlier attempts, he had his sister and actor/comedian Kevin Hart crouch down before slamming it home over them.

Rodger Sherman of The Ringer felt asking Hart to crouch was unnecessary:

Jay King of MassLive.com was unimpressed with Mitchell's performance and felt Dallas Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. deserved a better fate:

Arizona Wildcats guard Allonzo Trier echoed King's sentiment with regard to Smith:

Despite the differing opinions on Mitchell and the contest as a whole, the win was the continuation of what has been a spectacular rookie campaign for the Jazz star.

Spencer Checketts of 1280 The Zone urged fans to watch what Mitchell is capable of doing in actual games:

On the year, Mitchell is averaging 19.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per outing.

Post-All-Star break, he figures to be in a tight battle with Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year honors.

If Mitchell wins the award, he will join Blake Griffin as the only players to win the dunk contest and Rookie of the Year in the same season.

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