Leon Bennett/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) — A 21-year-old rookie and a 25-year-old, third-year pro battled it out in the NBA dunk contest.
Larry Nance Jr. dressed in his father’s old uniform and also had his father, who won the contest in 1984, help him with one of his dunks. But Nance’s nostalgia was no match for Donovan Mitchell, the Utah Jazz rookie.
Mitchell’s show at the Staples Center won him the slam dunk contest and capped off NBA All Star Saturday.
Mitchell sealed his victory over Nance Jr. with the 360 degree spin dunk that Vince Carter used to win the 2000 contest.
“I wanted this so badly,” Mitchell said. “This is one of my favorite events of All-Star weekend. To not only be in it, but to win it, it’s crazy.”
Before making his winning dunk, Mitchell peeled off his Jazz jersey to reveal a vintage Carter jersey from the Toronto Raptors.
Mitchell needed a score of 47 to beat Nance, and he got a 48 from the five judges: DJ Khaled, Mark Wahlberg, Chris Rock and Hall of Famers Julius Erving and Lisa Leslie.
Nance had earned a perfect 50 with a slam off a double alley-oop off the glass.
Mitchell advanced to the finals with a creative dunk in the first round that used his sister, Jordan, as well as Kevin Hart and the comedian’s son as props.
Mitchell’s sister, Hart and the comedian’s son, crouched in a line in front of the basket. Mitchell had an assistant toss the ball off the side of the backboard. He caught it and did a one-handed tomahawk dunk as he jumped over his sister, Hart and his son.
For that dunk, Mitchell wore a Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey. Griffith participated in the first slam dunk contest in 1984.
It earned a perfect 50.
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