Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard made his return to the Slam Dunk contest at the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend, but was eliminated by placing last in the first round despite a cool tribute to Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Howard missed his first attempt at his opening dunk, but finished it on the second try, earning a score of 41 from the judges, the lowest of any of the competitors’ first dunks:
out of context i would have thought he just jumped the entire wrong way pic.twitter.com/mR617d0DBM— whitney medworth (@its_whitney) February 16, 2020
Howard’s second dunk saw him bust out the Kobe Bryant tribute most assumed was coming after Howard had revealed that Bryant was planning to help him in the dunk contest this year before his tragic passing.
Howard ripped off his Lakers jersey to reveal a Superman tank top — a throwback to the last time he won — that he peeled the logo off of to reveal a No. 24 Superman “S.” Howard also dunked a ball autographed by Bryant, thrown to him as a lob pass by former Orlando Magic teammate Jameer Nelson:
The dunk got Howard a score of 49 from the judges, with actor Chadwick Boseman giving him the lone 9 in a panel full of tens. It wasn’t enough to save him from elimination, as his final score of 90 was less than any of the other three candidates.
Derrick Jones Jr. ultimately won the contest, controversially beating out Aaron Gordon in a sudden death dunk-off (Pat Connaughton was eliminated along with Howard after the first round).
Next up for the Lakers on All-Star Weekend is the actual game, in which Team LeBron — featuring Anthony Davis and LeBron James while being coached by Frank Vogel — will take on Team Giannis at 5:00 p.m. on TNT on Sunday.
Stay tuned to Silver Screen and Roll for more coverage of the rest of the weekend.