This is an article from the Feb. 29, 2016 issue
The 20-year-old Orlando forward, who staged a brilliant but losing battle against Zach LaVine in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest, needs some fresh ideas before he starts thinking rematch.
DAN PATRICK: What was your game plan for the dunk contest?
AARON GORDON: My game plan was to do four dunks that had never been done before in the contest. I came out and executed them perfectly.
DP: If you had voted, would Zach have gotten your vote?
AG: No, Zach would not have. [Laughs.] If I was a little kid watching and I saw the mascot come out and someone jump over him the way I did, I would have given my vote to him.
DP: If you had one more dunk, what would you have done?
AG: It felt like we were out there forever so I don't know if I had one more dunk in me. You saw me. I tried to throw it off the shot clock. At that point I had no idea what I was going to do.
DP: Which of Zach's dunks stood out to you?
AG: The windmill from the free throw line was pretty impressive.
DP: Could you have done that?
AG: I think I could. It's more of a long jump, but you have to remain high enough in the air to flush it through. He went through the legs too, from pretty far out. That was pretty good.
DP: How did your family react to your not winning?
AG: They were disappointed at first. Once they realized how happy I had been to soak in the experience, their mood changed, and they were just proud of me more than anything.
DP: What is that feeling like when you are up in the air?
AG: You have so much energy, you feel like you can just keep jumping forever.
DP: Can you touch the top of the backboard?
AG: On that night [of the dunk contest], I really believe I could have. I don't know about today. My adrenaline has worn off.
DP: Are you up for a rematch against Zach next year?
AG: I think the dunk contest is amazing, but a lot goes into it. It's going to take me a while to think of some new dunks. I kind of used them all up.
DP: Have you ever hit your head on the rim?
AG: No. On one of the dunks I was practicing I was getting close, so I had to scratch it.
DP: Hitting your head might have helped you win.
AG: Maybe if I had started gushing blood ...
DP: What about wearing a helmet?
AG: That would be very innovative.
DP: There you go! 2017! And, you can put a microphone on it so people can hear.
AG: You might be on to something. Maybe I'll have you [come in] as a special guest. But you'll need a trampoline.
Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin told me that he couldn't credit his brilliant strategy for taking the checkered flag on Sunday. "It happened so fast," Hamlin said. "Going into the last lap I had no intention of winning that race. Somehow, I just put it all together."... ESPN anchor Linda Cohn, who on Sunday celebrated her 5,000th SportsCenter show, wasn't always sure sportscasting was for her. "I almost got fired two years in," Cohn said. "They hired a video coach to hone my skills."... Jimmer Fredette, the Knicks' newly acquired 6'2" guard, said people are often surprised he plays pro basketball: "At the NBA D-League All-Star Game [on Feb. 13] I went to the snack bar to get some food but forgot my credential. When I tried to get back in, the security lady was like, What are you doing? Why are you going back there near the players?"