Aaron Gordon Picked New Jersey Number Based on Dunk Contest Snubs

In Monday’s Hot Clicks: why Aaron Gordon picked No. 50, Norman Powell’s awkward moment in his first game against the Raptors and more.
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That’s pretty corny, to be honest

When Aaron Gordon got traded to the Nuggets, he needed to pick a new jersey number. The 00 he wore with the Magic was already claimed by Markus Howard, a rookie on a two-way contract, and JaMychal Green had No. 0. So instead of going with the No. 11 he wore at Arizona or the No. 32 he wore in high school, Gordon picked a number he’d never worn before: 50. The reason is pretty silly.

According to Katy Winge of Altitude Sports, Gordon’s new number was inspired by the two times he came up short in the dunk contest.

Gordon and Zach LaVine had a classic duel in the 2016 dunk contest, but LaVine won in sudden death with a between-the-legs dunk from the free-throw line that he improvised on the spot. Gordon sought redemption in 2020 but was defeated by Derrick Jones Jr. after the judges awarded Gordon a measly 47 out of 50 for his jam jumping over Tacko Fall.

The snub didn’t sit well with Gordon, who had gotten perfect scores on his first four dunks, and he said he was done participating in the dunk contest.

“We’re here to do four dunks. It should be the best out of four dunks,” he told reporters later. “I did four straight 50s—five straight 50s. That’s over. It’s a wrap. Let’s go home. Four 50s in a row in the NBA Dunk Contest? It’s over. I don’t know. Who’s running the show?

“It’s a wrap. I feel like I should have two trophies.”

Gordon even produced a 19-minute documentary, which came out in December, about the 2020 event. It’s full of black-and-white and slow-mo shots of Gordon prepping for the contest. At one point, he reads a poem about how he wants to win.

It’s totally understandable that Gordon would be disappointed he didn’t win after the two stellar performances he had but it’s still a little silly that he’s dwelling on the 2020 dunk contest 13 months later. Like Gordon said, it’s just four dunks.

Does anyone really care who wins anyway? The subjective opinions of five random former players judging the event are the least interesting thing about the contest. It’s an event designed to be relived for years on YouTube, regardless of who actually takes home the trophy. In fact, Gordon losing the 2020 contest might have made it more memorable than if he had won. His getting a 47 for his jump over Fall was what made the dunk an instant classic.

The loss still clearly bothers Gordon, but he believes he may have made a lasting impact on the dunk contest without winning it.

“I have some fears that I ruined the dunk contest, that people aren’t going to want to do it anymore,” he told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt before this year’s contest.

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