Scroll down for a list of what’s already happened on Saturday, plus some pre-event reading.
Glenn Robinson III is your champion
And a deserving one after this final dunk.
That resembled John Wall’s slam to win in 2014, except Robinson jumped over two more people and all three were taller than the Wizards’ mascot. Robinson is the first Pacers champion since Fred Jones in 2004.
Derrick Jones Jr.’s second dunk was better after he whiffed on the first one, but it still wasn’t good enough.
We’re still disappointed that Aaron Gordon fell flat, but credit where credit is due. Congratulations to Glenn Robinson III.
The first dunks in the final round were duds
Glenn Robinson III completed a decent dunk over Paul George. Fine, but not great for a final-round dunk.
Derrick Jones tried jumping over three players and doing a between-the-legs dunk with his left hand, but missed all three times.
IT’S OVER (for this round)
Derrick Jones just uncorked the dunk of the night.
Probably too early to do this gesture, but you have to admire the enthusiasm.
Of course Jones got a 50 for that. It helps that he got it done on the first try and Devin Booker delivered a perfect pass.
He advances to the final along with Glenn Robinson III, who snuck into the final with a 41 on his second dunk after a 50 on his first.
Aaron Gordon droned on too long
After last year’s standout performance, Aaron Gordon let us down. He’s out of the competition.
Gordon got us all excited when he remote-controlled a drone down from the sky. It looked like he might catch the ball out of the sky and slam it in.
Instead, he missed three straight times and was forced into a run-of-the-mill between the legs dunk that only garnered a 38.
At least he finished that first dunk. He missed four straight again on his second try and meekly bowed out of the competition. Something was off.
Derrick Jones got jobbed
He needed two tries to pull this lefty slam over four people, but he got it done.
He only got a 45 for that, though. I expected more.
We have our first 50
And it’s from Glenn Robinson III for this. He jumped over two people!
Plus the reverse. That was impressive.
DeAndre Jordan’s first dunk involved him jumping around D.J. Khaled and over a turntable while Khaled (presumably) recorded him on Snapchat.
DeAndre got a 41 for that.
This was terrific. As a tribute to Craig Sager, the NBA brought up the 3-Point Contest finalists, James Harden, D.J. Khaled, and a number of other people to each see how many three-pointers they could make in a minute. Every three raised another $10,000 for the Sager Strong Foundation.
They made 13, including this one by D.J. Khaled.
Ernie Johnson then called on Stephen Curry — who changed from his earlier outfit — to raise the total to $500,000 if he could make a half-court shot. Several bricks later, Johnson settled for another method to get to that mark. He asked Shaquille O’Neal to raise Sager’s young son Ryan up to hit a layup.
What a terrific moment.
Eric Gordon won twice
Well, he should have at least. He only needed to make two of his last five shots in the final round, but bricked four of five to force a tiebreaker with Kyrie Irving. Everyone was stunned.
But Gordon quickly redeemed himself and got hot in the tiebreaker to zip pass Irving easily and take the title. Earth wins.
It also must have felt nice for Gordon to win on his old home floor, even if many fans don’t necessarily appreciate him.
Final round scores:
Eric Gordon: 20 (21)
Kyrie Irving: 20 (18)
Kemba Walker: 17
Your 3-Point Contest finalists:
Eric Gordon, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker. That’s right. Klay Thompson got knocked out with only 16. All three of the finalists were from the first group of shooters.
Gordon put on a show despite getting booed by New Orleans fans still mad about how disappointing he was for the Pelicans.
Legit boos for Eric Gordon here in New Orleans. That’s amazing.— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) February 19, 2017
Kyle Lowry air-balled his first shot. It didn’t get much better from there.
Here are the final totals for the first round:
Eric Gordon: 25
Kyrie Irving: 20:
Kemba Walker: 19
Nick Young: 18
Klay Thompson: 18
Wesley Matthews: 11
C.J. McCollum: 10
Kyle Lowry: 9
Kemba and a fan
Is Stephen Curry wearing his high school class jacket?
[young fan named steph cheers on three-point contestants] pic.twitter.com/TaHeeAgdIc— SB Nation NBA (@SBNationNBA) February 19, 2017
He chose this instead of participating in the 3-Point Contest?
BIG MEN HAVE ALL THE SKILLS
For the second straight year, a big man won the Skills Challenge. Kristaps Porzingis outdueled Utah’s Gordon Hayward, making his first shot to seal the deal. That’s right: a 7’3 dude won the Skills Challenge. Karl-Anthony Towns won last year, and now his fellow draft class member has the crown.
Also, Reggie Miller completely botched Nikola Jokic’s name in declaring him the favorite.
Jokic was knocked out in the semifinals by Porzingis.
Guy Fieri is everywhere
Adam Silver makes a statement
The NBA commissioner gave his annual media address, which seemed shorter than usual. Here’s a complete summary.
The most significant excerpts centered around two pieces of legislation that intersect with the league’s interest: Donald Trump’s travel ban and state laws similar to North Carolina’s HB2 legislation, which caused the NBA to move this year’s All-Star Game from Charlotte to New Orleans.
On the former, Silver declared that while he doesn’t have the same level of access to information as government officials, the ban goes against the league’s core values.
“I am concerned,” Silver said. “It goes against the fundamental values and the fundamental ingredients of what makes a great NBA.”
Silver also responded to a question concerning Texas’ proposed “bathroom bill” that mirrors North Carolina’s. Silver said he wouldn’t “draw bright lines” before studying the bill further, but said that Texas and other states who pass similar laws are “on notice.”
Silver also said he has spoken to new North Carolina governor Roy Cooper about bringing the All-Star Game back to Charlotte during the next open window if the law can be repealed.
“Kyrie and I went to the same college,” Silver said, referring to their shared status as Duke attendees. ”He may have taken some different courses than I did.”
What else has happened so far in New Orleans?
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook had an awkward exchange at All-Star practice.
The D-League Dunk Contest, normally an experience we love, was a dud. Troy Williams of the Iowa Energy won by default.
Quinn Cook, formerly of Duke, now with the Canton Charge, won D-League All-Star Game MVP.
Chris Webber, Tim Hardaway, and Tracy McGrady are among the finalists for this year’s Hall of Fame class.
Pre-event reading and viewing
A look back at the 1997 Dunk Contest, the worst of all time.
You’re gonna see a lot of this scary baby mascot on TV. Meet King Cake Baby.
Why each player gets to move a full rack of moneyballs to their location of choice in the 3-Point Contest.
Saturday night is always the highlight of NBA All-Star Weekend, even though the actual game isn’t until Sunday. The league puts on a showcase that includes three marquee events: the Skills Challenge, the 3-Point Contest, and the Slam Dunk Contest. Festivities begin at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
The Slam Dunk Contest is the last and marquee event of the evening, though the 3-Point Contest has given it a run for its money recently. Last year’s Slam Dunk Contest was one of its best ever, with Minnesota’s Zach LaVine and Orlando’s Aaron Gordon trading gravity-defying dunks we’ve never seen before. LaVine technically won, but both players were winners in most people’s eyes.
Gordon returns as the headliner of this year’s competition, but LaVine won’t be here after he tore his ACL in January. (He had already declined an invitation before the injury). That makes Gordon the heavy favorite to win this year.
But he’ll have to hold off an interesting field that includes Clippers All-Star big man DeAndre Jordan and two relative unknowns. Indiana’s Glenn Robinson III has received more playing time recently, but was in the D-League last season. Phoenix’s Derrick Jones Jr. has mostly been in the D-League this season and only has 24 NBA minutes under his belt. But underestimate this high-flyer at your own peril.
Last year’s 3-Point Contest was also a monumental showdown between teammates Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry. Thompson came out on top, avenging his defeat to Curry in 2015.
Curry is not in this year’s competition, leaving Thompson alone to defend his title against a field that includes Portland’s C.J. McCollum, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Dallas’ Wes Matthews, Los Angeles’ Nick Young, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, and Houston’s Eric Gordon.
The Skills Challenge got a much-needed refresh last year when the league decided to add big men into the competition. That resulted in Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns winning a final-round showdown against Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. Towns won’t participate this year, leaving the big man torch to one of Nikola Jokic, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, and Kristaps Porzingis. Thomas, John Wall, Gordon Hayward, and Devin Booker are the guards.
Festivities begin at 8 p.m. on TNT and WatchTNT.