Donovan Mitchell channels Vince Carter at Dunk Contest

By Alex Butler

Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell wore a Vince Carter jersey for his winning slam during the NBA's 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest.

His channeling of Air Canada definitely paid off Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.


Mitchell began the contest by running in from the right side. He tossed a ball off of the backboard on a hoop to his right before catching it in the air and throwing it through the rim on another hoop. He threw down a pumping windmill jam on that attempt.

His first two dunks resulted in scores of 48 and 50. Mitchell's combined score of 98 pushed him into the championship round.

Cleveland Cavaliers newcomer Larry Nance Jr. (93) also made it into the championship round. Dallas Mavericks star Dennis Smith Jr. and Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo finished in third and fourth place, respectively. Oladipo also used some theatrics to play up his dunks. He borrowed a Black Panther mask from actor Chadwick Boseman during the contest.


Nance Jr. started off his night by pulling down a curtain at half court to reveal himself wearing his dad's Phoenix Suns jersey.

Later it was Mitchell's turn to go retro. He walked out and took off his jersey. He was wearing Carter's No. 15 Toronto Raptors threads underneath.

Mitchell proceeded to run in from the left side and do a 360-degree mid-air rotation, before throwing down a windmill dunk with his right hand while fading away from the rim. Mitchell also mimicked Carter's famous 'it's over' pose after pulling off the dunk.

He won the contest with a combined score of 98 in the championship round, besting Nance's 96.

"I wanted this so badly, man," Mitchell told TNT after the contest. "This is one of my favorite events of All-Star Weekend, growing up as a kid watching it, not only being in it but to win it-it's crazy." 

Larry Nance Sr. won the 1984 Slam Dunk contest, the first competition in NBA history.


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