Donovan Mitchell Talks Importance of Sister Jordan Participating in Dunk Contest

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2018

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 17:  Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz dunks over Kevin Hart and crew during the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest 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 Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell won Saturday's NBA Slam Dunk Contest at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, completing one dunk by jumping over Kevin Hart, Hart's son and his own sister.

Mitchell explained why he wanted his sister to be a part of the routine, pointing to the sacrifices she made as he was growing up in basketball, per Kyle Goon of the Salt Lake Tribune:

"She's done a lot, and I'm getting kind of emotional just saying all this," Mitchell said. "But, yeah—she's a trooper. She's been there. She's driven in the car 14 hours with my mom to Louisville and watched the game and then drove back the same night.

"... So to have her out here and see all this, I'm glad I could give this to her and have her be a part of it."

Mitchell almost didn't have the opportunity to involve his sister; he was only in the dunk contest as an injury replacement for Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon.

"I wanted this so badly, man," Mitchell said, courtesy of NBA on TNT. "This is one of my favorite events of All-Star Weekend—growing up as a kid watching it. And not only to be in it but to win it, it's crazy."

He beat a field that featured Larry Nance Jr. of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dennis Smith Jr. of the Dallas Mavericks and Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers.

Among the highlights, Oladipo donned a Black Panther mask in homage to the Marvel movie, Smith slammed a 360-degree between-the-legs dunk and Nance honored his father—1984 dunk contest winner Larry Nance Sr.—by putting on the Phoenix Suns jersey the elder Nance wore when he won the inaugural event.

Mitchell also tapped into nostalgia by wearing a Vince Carter Toronto Raptors jersey and unleashing a 360-degree windmill a la Carter's dunk in the 2000 contest.

While Mitchell introduced his sister to the basketball world during the competition, the victory will only further his status as a household name.

The Rookie of the Year candidate is averaging 19.6 points, 3.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game and has helped lead Utah to 11 straight wins. The Jazz are 1.5 games behind the eighth-place New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference playoffs race.

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