Donovan Mitchell is your 2018 Slam Dunk Champion, but it was another controversial ending. Mitchell ended up squaring off with Larry Nance Jr. in the final. Nance looked like he had the better dunk by throwing it off the backboard, catching it then tapping it off the glass before he dunked it.
Mitchell ended up winning over the judges with his Vince Carter tribute dunk. Mitchell tore off his jersey then had a Carter Raptors jersey underneath, before pulling off one of the slams that helped Carter win the 2000 contest. Here’s a look back at Carter’s dunk Mitchell was trying to emulate.
This is a look at the two dunks side by side. Mitchell’s dunk is clearly not as smooth, and left some fans feeling like the wrong player won the contest.
Here’s how it looked from above the backboard.
Nance, whose father won the very first NBA Slam Dunk Contest, paid homage to his pops by wearing his throwback Suns uniform and going for the cradle dunk. Nance was unsuccessful on his first attempt, but hit on his second try.
Nance’s father, Larry Nance Sr., was in attendance, and also helped him on another dunk. Here’s a look at Nance unveiling his father’s old jersey along with the dunk his father assisted with.
In addition to Mitchell and Nance, Victor Oladipo and Dennis Smith Jr. competed in the contest. The contest was unique in that half the contestants, Mitchell and Smith, were rookies. Oladipo was the only participant with prior experience. Vegas had the two rookies as the favorite with Smith at +170 followed by Mitchell at +220.
Smith was expected to pull off a lot more creative dunks, but his opening round performance underwhelmed. There are countless viral videos of Smith pulling off better dunks in warm ups, but the Mavs point guard was unable to get out of the first round. This was Smith’s best dunk of the night.
Oladipo also came up short, but tried to get creative by putting on a Black Panther mask. It would have been more effective if he would have connected on his first attempt. Oladipo made it on his second try with the mask.
Mitchell’s second dunk was his best of the night as he rocked the Adrian Griffith throwback Jazz uniform while jumping over three people.
This is the same dunk, but a look at the slam from the baseline.
Here’s a look at Mitchell’s first dunk where he threw the ball off one backboard then dunked it through the main hoop.
Watch every dunk from Nance from the contest.
Overall, it was a disappointing contest as the participants did not live up to their capabilities. Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon have been the contest stars in recent years, but both players have been battling injuries. Take a look at some of the contestants dunks from throughout their careers as you try to forget the actual dunk contest.