Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell put on a show in the slam dunk contest to cap off NBA All-Star Saturday.
Mitchell, who starred at the University of Louisville, edged Larry Nance Jr. by two points, sealing his victory with a close approximation of 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 and wore a vintage Carter jersey from the Toronto Raptors.
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Mitchell — three inches shorter than the 6-foot-6 Carter — 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, who was trying to win the contest 34 years after his father won it, had earned a perfect 50 with a dunk 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. For that dunk, Mitchell wore a Darrell Griffith Jazz jersey. Griffith participated in the first slam dunk contest in 1984.
“I appreciate Kevin Hart coming out there and helping me out,” Mitchel said. “He’s my favorite comedian.”