Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon authored two of the greatest performances in NBA Slam Dunk Contest history, but neither of his efforts resulted in wins as Zach LaVine and Derrick Jones Jr. beat him in 2016 and 2020, respectively.
He arguably could have won both, and his performances should have won him the title nearly every other year. That didn't happen, however, and Gordon now wonders if he "ruined" the contest because his epic performances didn't result in wins.
Gordon said, per Jeff Zilgitt of USA Today:
"I have some fears that I ruined the dunk contest, that people aren't going to want to do it anymore. I hope that people see Mr. 50 and are inspired and continue to elevate that dunk contest because there are still dunks that haven't been done. I'm not going to do them, but I hope somebody comes in and does them. It's a great event. It's beautiful for the game."
Mr. 50 is a documentary short chronicling his experience at last year's competition. The "50" is in reference to a perfect score a dunker can achieve for any individual slam (five judges, 10-point top score for each).
Per HoopsHype, Gordon has the most perfect dunks ever with eight, one more than LaVine and two more than NBA legend Michael Jordan.
His 2016 highlight reel, spotlighting his duel with LaVine, is here:
And his 2020 reel is here:
Gordon may not have won, but as he said (h/t Zilgitt) regarding the documentary, he ended up satisfied with his performance despite missing out on the trophies.
"But it turned into something more," Gordon said regarding the doc. "My friend and filmmaker Aaron Chapman chopped it up in a way that I had never seen before. It was much more artistic, much more poetic and raw.
"The message I wanted to get across is to conquer your fears and be satisfied in your actions more than the outcome."
Gordon has said he felt he deserved two trophies. Hardware isn't in the cards this year as he sits out the 2021 contest, which will occur in Atlanta on Sunday.
Even if he never participates in another one, though, Gordon will still go down as one of the contest's all-time legends.