The 2016 Dunk contest is widely regarded as one of the best and most exciting in basketball history. featuring a showdown between Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine, it was a truly extraordinary night that saw plenty of amazing dunks get finished.
In the end, Gordon lost despite scoring almost perfectly, and (to this day), it's considered highly controversial.
Commenting on the dunk contest, the Orlando star revealed one of his best fears in a chat with The Athletic: that his 2016 loss may have damaged the participation of stars going forward.
“I have some fears that I ruined the dunk contest, that people aren’t going to want to do it anymore,” Gordon said. “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.”
The 2021 All-Star game is just days away, and the Slam Dunk contest this year isn't nearly as hyped up as it has been in years past. Following reports that multiple All-Stars turned down invitations, the competition this year will feature a lot of role-players, and some fear the event will never hold the same value as it did once before.
The fact that Gordon lost a few years ago despite doing so well certainly helped put others off to the idea. We'll have to see if it can regain some of its glamor.