After a dunk-off against Orlando Magic star Aaron Gordon, Derrick Jones Jr. emerged victorious in last night’s AT&T Slam Dunk Contest in Chicago.
Jones Jr. wore a pair of custom Puma Clyde Hardwood sneakers on the court, which were done in a Miami color palette of baby blue, flamingo pink and white. The shoes featured a caricature of Jones Jr. with rockets on his feet, a reference to the athlete’s nickname, “Airplane Mode.”
The Slam Dunk Contest is always one of the most-anticipated events of All-Star Weekend, and this year’s was no exception. Jones Jr. proved his “Airplane Mode” moniker is a good one as he did a series of contortionist-like moves on the hardwood, earning multiple perfect scores from the judges.
Jones Jr. and Gordon were finalists in the dunk contest after Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks and Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers were ousted in the first round. Gordon had received perfect scores on all his dunks until the final tie-breaker. The star did multiple under-the-leg moves over the head of Chicago-born hip-hop star Chance the Rapper, who stands at 5-foot-10.
In the final round, Jones Jr. received a score of 48. He narrowly bested Gordon, who was awarded 47 points for his dunk over Boston Celtics’ Tacko Fall, who stands at 7-foot-5. Gordon was docked points because he didn’t quite clear Fall’s head.
The contest was judged by WNBA star Candace Parker, Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen, former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, 3-time Grammy winning rapper Common and “Black Panther” actor Chadwick Boseman.
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