Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. defeated Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon in an epic duel Saturday to win the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago's United Center.
Jones Jr. and Gordon advanced to the finals out of a four-person group that also included Milwaukee Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton and Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard.
Once there, Jones Jr. and Gordon turned it up a notch and earned perfect 50-score dunks, leading to a two-slam dunk-off to decide the winner.
Jones Jr. and Gordon both received 50s to start the round, but the Heat forward bested Gordon 48-47 in their final slams to win.
Gordon is now a tough-luck loser in two legendary slam dunk contests after losing to then-Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine in 2016. The Magic forward had perfect scores on his first five dunks on Saturday.
Here's a look at the scores for all the dunks, the best highlights and reaction to a slam dunk contest that should go down as one of the best in NBA history.
Aaron Gordon: 50-50
Derrick Jones Jr.: 46-50
Pat Connaughton: 45-50
Dwight Howard: 41-49
Aaron Gordon: 50-50
Derrick Jones Jr.: 50-50
Derrick Jones Jr.: 50-48
Aaron Gordon: 50-47
Each of the four contestants contributed at least one noteworthy dunk.
Dwight Howard paid homage to late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant as well as his own Superman dunk from the 2008 Slam Dunk Contest with this move:
Howard brought back ex-Orlando Magic teammate Jameer Nelson to serve the lob, just like he did 12 years ago.
Connaughton got a little help from his friends, too, when he asked Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo to assist on a dunk.
The Bucks shooting guard then proceeded to grab the ball from his teammate, jump over Antetokounmpo, hit the backboard and slam it home in one fell swoop:
Both of those dunks earned 50s, but the night belonged to Gordon and Jones Jr.
The Heat forward went into Airplane Mode for his first attempt, which occurred just after he brought a birthday cake on the court to celebrate his 23rd.
Credit Heat teammate and All-Star center Bam Adebayo with the assist.
Jones one-upped himself with a 360-degree tornado reverse through his legs:
But Gordon was up to the task.
He got the crowd going with a between-the-legs reverse slam for his first of five 50s:
Then Chance the Rapper got involved. He got the assist to Gordon for another 50, leading to the finals.
Both players left it all on the floor in that round, engaging in one of the better duels in history.
Jones Jr. took jumping over someone to another level by going through his legs and adding an extra person for his leap:
He also went over one of his helpers to throw down a slam off the backboard:
Undeterred, Gordon enlisted help from Chance the Rapper once again:
And that was before he threw down one of the best dunks in contest history in a move that defies description:
That tied the score at 100 through the finals, leading to a dunk-off.
Somehow, both players had energy for more eye-popping dunks, with Jones leading off with this effort:
Gordon responded with another 50 dunk with Chance the Rapper's help:
At this point, it was announced that the result would go to a "judges' decision" if the score was still tied following the second slam of the dunk-off.
The 50-point streak finally ended after Jones Jr.'s 48 to start it off:
And then somehow, Gordon didn't get a 50 for dunking over 7'5" Tacko Fall:
He finished one point short at 47, giving Jones Jr. the victory.
Jones Jr. was simply exceptional, and he posted one of the best performances of all time.
But Gordon's 2020 efforts may have topped his 2016 dunks, which may have been the best the game has ever seen until this year.
Josh Robbins of The Athletic was in disbelief that Gordon got a 47 on his last dunk:
Bleacher Report and The Ringer wondered what Gordon needed to do to win:
NBA All-Stars weighed in, with Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid supporting Gordon:
But both players were exceptional, and Lakers superstar LeBron James said two trophies should have been awarded:
Gordon said afterward that his Slam Dunk Contest career is over:
He can make a case for going down as the best competitor the contest has ever seen, or at least the greatest since Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins were dueling in the late 1980s.
But the night ultimately belonged to Derrick "Airplane Mode" Jones Jr., who became the first Heat player to win the award since Harold Miner in 1993.