Aaron Gordon is back and ready for the 2017 All-Star Dunk Contest

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A runner-up last year, but easily the star of the show with his creativity and acrobatics in dunking, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon will get another chance at taking home the NBA Slam Dunk Contest title at the NBA All-Star Game later this month.

The NBA announced the participants on Thursday for this year’s dunk contest during State Farm All-Star Saturday Night, which will be held Feb. 18 at New Orleans’ Smoothie King Arena. Gordon, Orlando’s third-year forward, should be a heavy favorite while competing against Los Angeles Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan, Indiana forward Glen Robinson III and Phoenix rookie forward Derrick Jones Jr.

“It’s incredibly special just to be out there,’’ Gordon said of competing on the dunk contest stage with all eyes on him. “You have to trust your skills. To grow up wanting to be in the dunk contest and then to finally be doing it, performing at a high level, it’s an incredible feeling…’’

Gordon, who has played predominantly at small forward this season after playing power forward in his first two NBA seasons, has also evolved into Orlando’s best defender this season. He’s had defensive success against superstar players such as Chris Paul, James Harden, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum this season. He isn’t worried about being tagged as just a “dunker.’’

“I’m not worried about that because people will put labels where they see fit,’’ Gordon said. “The reputation of me being a dunker, that’s fine. I have plenty of other tools in my bag and aspects of my game that I’m not concerned about that. That’s just one more label for me – and he dunks.’’

Read the full article: Aaron Gordon Selected to Compete in NBA Slam Dunk Contest

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