The 2020 NBA All-Star Dunk Contest will be remembered fondly for the incredible duel between Aaron Gordon and eventual champ Derrick Jones Jr. that required extra rounds to decide a winner.
However, the circumstances around Jones’ win was the hottest topic of conversation after the contest, thanks to a judging controversy. Dwyane Wade, a Heat legend, may or may not have ruined a plan from the judges to have Gordon’s dunk over Tacko Fall result in the same score as Jones’ windmill from just inside the free throw line. Common and Candace Parker have both indicated that was the plan but when the scores were revealed, three judges — Wade, Chadwick Boseman, and Scottie Pippen — had given him nines to give Jones a one point win.
Wade’s reaction, compared to the stunned reaction of the other judges, has led to a belief that he might’ve purposefully given the wrong score to give the Heat player a win. No one has confirmed Wade was the one that messed up the plan, and Wade, at least as of now, won’t admit to anything nefarious, telling Complex he wasn’t the only one to give Gordon a nine.
Wade points to the length of the contest as why there couldn’t have been a master plan of his, and it’d be ridiculous to think this was some long con. He is also right that the contest should be remembered positively because it was truly one of the best duels we have seen and both Gordon and Jones were spectacular.
Maybe Wade is right and he didn’t do anything purposefully, but the confluence of events and circumstances made for the perfect storm to create an incredible controversy. That the other judges seem to believe someone messed up only fueled that and this surely won’t be the last we hear of it.