Zach LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

ALL BALL NERVE CENTER — It’s been an emotional season for the Minnesota Timberwolves, who unexpectedly lost coach Flip Saunders to Hodgkin’s lymphoma just before the start of the season. And to pay tribute to his late coach, after winning last night’s dunk contest, T-Wolves guard Zach LaVine took to Instagram to remember the man who meant so much to him and Timberwolves fans everywhere…


  1. Atheda Fletcher says:

    Thoroughly disappointed that the appropriate slamdunk contestant did not win!! Totally disappointed in the 3 judges who gave Gordon “9”s. I am sure many will agree with me that Lavine was good but did not deserve winning last night! He did the same slam twice and they had nothing special into them! I say toss those incompetent judges out for next year! They obviously were bias!!

    • idolisMJ says:

      i agree with you on that point, even though i like zach; but i didn’t know that aaron gordon is so explosive in his dunk and the creativity is insane, i also think that gordon wins that battle; he’s 47 score is not a 47 score for me; for me aaron gordon last dunk was a perfect 50 i also hate those judges even though they’ved been pump up and mesmerize by gordons dunk. aaron gordons leaping ability is high. i need to see aaron gordon again in the dunk contest i like the battle but the judges are just bias as u said. i think that night gordon is the winner; he’s head always reaches the rim. zach dunk is almost like the other but just different in variation unlike gordon it was always a surprise dunk. it should be gordon that night. peace to all

    • josy says:

      That’s true.incompetent judges

    • Sam says:

      You seriously take this moment right here to say that you are disappointed by the results? C’mon man, think for a bit will ya…LaVine does a nice thing here, and you’re upset about the outcome of a game? Crazy.

    • Macro Man Jr. says:

      “He did the same slam twice and they had nothing special into them!”

      While I do agree that Gordon that the edge, I think you’re oversimplifying just what LaVine did. An alley-oop from the free-throw line isn’t a small feat,

      And while the windmill dunk from the free-throw line was rather similar, again, under normal circumstances, for dunk contests, that’s a game winner. But I don’t think the judging was so much biased as they were just judging the wrong aspect.

      Though, I totally agree with Shaq’s two 9’s–if you miss the first try on the dunk, it should affect the “perfection” of the dunk. At least he judged it consistently and gave them both 9’s for the same reason. To give them 10’s just to give them perfect scores while he didn’t think them as perfect would’ve been in itself bias.

      But I’m not mad at LaVine for winning, and he even suggested immediately after his win that the game should be a two-way tie, which would’ve been a great decision.

      • Macro Man Jr. says:

        You know what? I sorta read your point about the three 9’s wrong, as I glanced it. Wasn’t talking about Shaq. My apologies. Yeah, those last three 9’s were off-center, in my opinion.

        But I’ll still say that my opinion on those Shaq 9’s stands, which some folks argued on social media.

        And I hope folks don’t belittle just what greatness LaVine likewise achieved. Especially that first dunk, which I’d rank as one of the best dunks in contest history.

      • Yes, the two best dunks of the night did belong to aaron gordon.
        But Zach Lavine still earned the 50s on his dunks… They were graceful dunks with a lot of hang time and precision, very similar to Vince Carter and MJ.

        Aaron Gordon’s last dunk was not a 47, BUT in my opinion it wasn’t a 50 either.
        It was probably a 49 and if anything, T-mac is the only one justified in giving it a 9, only because T-mac in the 2000 slam dunk contest did a better version of that dunk (as did steve francis).
        The part where he cocked it behind his head first isn’t that technically difficult because he just did it quickly not requiring a lot of hang time or athletecism. Maybe if he reversed the order of his pumps (going low then tomohawking it behind his head) it would have been more impressive.
        Also the crowd lost alittle momentum with aaron gordon’s abandoned attempts off the shot clock.

        Reggie Miller said they should bring out two trophies and I agree, it should have been a tie.
        But I’m not worried, I’m sure Aaron Gordon will be back next year. I wouldn’t say Lavine didn’t deserve his win though.

    • BiasedKIng says:

      Man if they were biased they would have given LaVine the trophy in the beginning but they didnt. Also Aaron Gordon’s dunks were better but his last one didnt hold up to the other ones he had. Plus if you saw it without replay it just looks like a dunk that can be done in a game. I dont blame those judges fpr being biased to what they like and they are no impartial judge ever, everyone leans toward what they like more. But it not like you guys arent being biased either, Aaron Gordon had 2 of the best dunks but his last dunk wasnt too special, and he did it in a highschool dunk contest ( look it up). So it not like we havent seen the dunks and he got a similar score in that highschool dunk contest too. So it not like i can do it but i think T-Mac one of those “biased judge” thought he could have done that last dunk himself during his younger days. Plus Dikembe had seen it all so. Stop saying those judge are the only biased ones, everyone is biased toward certain things. But the problem i have is with you guys ruining the whole things by saying he got robbed or Zach didnt deserve it. I aint here to defend Zach or help Gordon but to make your little mind understand the facts they dont care, they had fun and its not like you can do those dunks either so just stop whining like a baby and appreciate the show they put on. Peace

  2. I find it disgraceful to dedicate an award that he knows he didn’t win. That under the legs dunk from straight on with no dribbling, not even from free throw, how the hell that got above 47 is beyond me, and Gordon’s last dunk was a legit 50. So Flip is rolling over in his grave.

  3. George says:

    I totally agree with Atheda. Both Gordon and Levine should have been given the aware in a tie after the third round of 50 scores! All three judges who gave Gordon scores of 9 should never be allowed to judge another Dunk Contest again!

  4. dontbetoy says:

    Why can’t you people enjoy it for what it was…. a great show! Even the winner said he wasn’t sure he deserved to win and the award should be shared. This article is about a young man honoring the memory of someone important in his life that he lost. All you keyboard courage internet jerks turning it into comments about how he doesn’t deserve to win should be ashamed of yourselves. There’s a place for that for that conversation… it’s called somewhere else. You sound like bitter Orlando fans.

  5. Eduardo says:

    Well, I think both deserved to win. But the biggest credit that Zach Lavine should get is that he resurrected the Slam Dunk Contest. His performance last year motivated a buzz for this year’s challenge. And Gordon’s dunks will be a enormous motivation for the next year.

    I can’t wait for Lavine x Gordon round 2 next year.

  6. PrettyNickkyy says:

    I know all everyone is saying Aaron Gordon got robbed but Zach LaVine really did deserve to win. Aaron Gordon had the best dunk of the night. Over that mascot and under the legs was absolutely insane but the dunk contest isn’t based off of one dunk. Zach dunking from the free throw line 3 times in unbelievable and going through the legs on one and a windmill on the other is absurd! people don’t appreciate how hard that is but there’s a reason Zach LaVine was only the second person in NBA history to do so behind the great Michael Jordan. And for those who are going to say Zach stepped over the line, MJ did too!

  7. PJ says:

    Brent Barry did it with his jacket on..

  8. simmo says:

    well, Serge Ibaka went from just behind the free throw line and got 45…just sayin’

    this was still the best dunk ‘contest’ I’ve seen since Air Canada way back when…

    • lebronhater says:

      serge’s free throw line dunk is way different from zach’s between the legs and windmill free throw line dunks. gordon was explosive but lavine was finesse! remember mj wilks dunk off, notice anything familiar?

  9. Hyung7 says:

    they are both winners…. Lavine VS Gordon round 2

  10. Joe says:

    Wow… Some of you guys need to pull your heads in – Getting salty in an article about a dedication to a great man, because you don’t agree with the outcome of the contest…? Get some damn perspective will you!

  11. Nic says:

    if lebron joined and won this, it would be biased for sure

  12. J says:

    Amazing that Zach Lavine dedicated the trophy to Flip Saunders in Toronto.

  13. sheila d says:

    Gordon was robbed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. phee-o-wheet says:

    they were both winners.

  15. lucious Stewart says:

    Big ups to zach lavine honoring his coach and to the haters the right man won the dunk contest. Aaron Gordon had more creativity on a few dunks BUT zach lavine did the impossible from the free throw line it’s hard enough to pull off a dunk from that far out and he owned the free throw line with 3 different dunks WINDMILL CATCHING A LOB & BETWEEN THE LEGS FROM THE FREE THROW LINE that’s not humanly possible and you won’t see it done again

  16. Terry says:

    Who cares!

  17. Arbor Doctor says:

    Just to much complaining about how Gordon won the contest. Just because you have the best dunk doesn’t mean you win the contest unless you save your best for last. Gordon ran out of ideas and his last dunk from first look was very pedestrian to any of the last dunks. Levine kept jumping out of the gym in new ways. Isiah Ryder won a dunk contest by just going through his legs. Think about that for a second. Levine did it from the free throw line. These comments are coming from people who couldn’t touch the rim let alone jump 15′ get the ball through your legs and keep it 10′ above the rim. Then be able to get it through the rim. If anyone thinks they could pull this off that would be incredible.

    The thing that is missing from your comments is that a great coach, father and man was lost. Levine took his time to remember what it meant to be wanted on his team. That flip believed in him and now he is gone. All that coach Saunders did will far outweigh any one night individual performance. We miss you coach.

    • Fro_Buntu says:

      Exactly, one dunk does not a dunk contest win. You can’t get more than a 50, and although Gordon’s “Chair-lift” dunk (or whatever theyre calling it) was the best dunk of the night, he got a 50 and Lavine’s dunk also received and deserved a 50 too. LaVine was just more consistent and people dont seem to realize how incredibly difficult it had to be to do 3 free throw line dunks (and one that he missed so 4 for the purpose of my arguement) and the fatigue involved.
      He just made it look easy.