Common Says Dunk Contest Was Expected to Be a Tie: 'Somebody Didn't Do It Right'

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 16, 2020

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - FEBRUARY 15: Chance the Rapper and Aaron Gordon participate in 2020 State Farm All-Star Saturday Night at United Center on February 15, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

A phenomenal 2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest ended in controversy on Saturday in Chicago's United Center.

For one, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon didn't win despite registering perfect 50 scores on his first five dunks and only getting a 47 on his final one after leaping over 7'5" Boston Celtics center Tacko Fall.

Afterward, Slam Dunk Contest judge Common said that he expected the result to be a tie between Gordon and eventual winner Derrick Jones Jr.:

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Just spoke to dunk contest judge @common who tells @ESPN, “We thought it was going to be tied. We were like, ‘This is a tie’ ...But somebody didn’t do it right. I don’t know who it is.” 👀👀👀

Jones Jr. and Gordon went to a dunk-off after tying in the final round with a pair of 50-score dunks. The two started their dunk-off with 50s again before Jones Jr. got a 48 to finish and Gordon followed him with his 47.

Five judges scored the event: Common, Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker, Chadwick Boseman and Scottie Pippen.

Common spoke on the matter further to Shelburne.

"I really felt it was an even battle and we—as judges—felt the scores should be even and they should just have a judge off. We had the cards. Put your card up for who had the best dunks."

It was announced before the final attempt of the dunk-off that the contest would go to a "judges' decision" if the two were still tied after the final slam from each contestant. That never happened with Jones Jr. edging Gordon, 48-47.

Shelburne also spoke with Parker, who also said that the judges intended on scoring the final dunk a 48 so the two competitors could end in a tie.

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Dunk contest judge ⁦@Candace_Parker⁩ just posted this on IG. She confirmed ⁦@common⁩ account of the judges’ intending for it to be a tie (and go to judge’s choice) to ESPN https://t.co/RHqFekEYhu

Parker elaborated further:

Ramona Shelburne @ramonashelburne

Dunk contest judge @Candace_Parker —who gave Aaron Gordon a 10—tells ESPN, “I ain’t throwing anyone under the bus .... buttttt check the score card.”

Wade, Boseman and Pippen gave nines for the final dunk, while Parker and Common awarded 10s. The scores were reversed on the Jones dunk, with the former three giving 10s and the latter two presenting nines.

There are perhaps three dunk contests in league history where one could argue both competitors should have won. The first was Michael Jordan vs. Dominique Wilkins in their epic battle in 1988 in Chicago.

The last two both involved Gordon, who also lost to Zach LaVine in 2016.

Gordon has gone home without a trophy both times now after delivering one of the greatest shows the contest has ever seen.

Credit goes to Derrick Jones Jr., however, who was phenomenal in his own right and was up to the task of going blow for blow with Gordon.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.