NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2018: Top Highlights, Reaction from Donovan Mitchell's Win

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Nevertheless, notes Michael Bass, the chief spokesman for the N.B.A., the dunk contest remains the highest-rated event on the Saturday night of All-Star weekend, even if the 3-point contest is drawing bigger-name players.

Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell and 76ers first-year man Ben Simmons have separated from the pack in the NBA's Rookie of the Year race.

While Nance Jr. did well, he did not take home the title.

"Dr. J held back", Nance Jr. said.

"Believe it or not, I've been preparing for this since I was a kid", Mitchell, 21, said.

During State Farm All-Star Saturday Night in Los Angeles tonight, Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell won the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest, becoming only the second Jazzman to win the competition, joining Jeremy Evans who won in 2012. He threw down a pumping windmill jam on that attempt.

Jason Richardson (2004) - Reigning champ Richardson pulled off a repeat by capping a dazzling display of athleticism with an off-the-backboard, between-the-legs dunk that drew immediate ideal scores from the judges.

Mitchell's duel with Nance and their evocations of National Basketball Association legends mean the contest is up there with modern classics such as the staredown between Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine.

Nance's father beat Erving in the '84 contest.

In the final round, Mitchell's first dunk got his second 50 points of the night, while Nance Jr. who was traded to the Cavaliers for the Los Angeles Lakers at the deadline this month, scored 46 points. Smith garnered a 50 for going between his legs in mid-air on a reverse dunk, and Oladipo's highlight was wearing a Black Panther mask for a behind-the-head, two-handed windmill. He is playing in his first All-Star game on Sunday, and appears to be enjoying himself during the festivities.

The more Ben Simmons plays, the louder the comparisons to Hall of Famers Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson become.

Phoenix's Devin Booker won the 3-point contest and Brooklyn's Spencer Dinwiddie won the 2018 Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Over the last few years, the Dunk Contest has fluctuated between entertaining and boring, but this year appears to be an exciting one, as some real high-flyers look to bring home the trophy. The final ball of each one was a "money ball" worth two points, and one of the racks, usually the last one, was all money balls. Booker and Thompson each scored 19 points in the first round and Harris reached 18.

Oladipo is the only participant this year with previous experience in the Dunk Contest, which could be significant, though some will argue that it makes no difference whether experience helps you win a competition like this. The game will be at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT!

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