Larry Nance Jr.’s Hilarious Reaction To Losing Dunk Contest To Donovan Mitchell

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Larry Nance Jr. followed in his dad’s footsteps by representing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA dunk contest.

But he fell two points shy of Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell in the final round, which featured two dunks from each competitor—and he jokingly blamed it on a spiteful Julius Erving, aka Dr. J.

Mitchell re-created his dunk from the 2018 Rising Stars Challenge, then donned a Vince Carter jersey to imitate the dunk legend’s famed reverse windmill from the 2000 slam dunk contest, for a total final-round score of 98.

Nance Jr. achieved a perfect 50 on his final dunk, throwing the ball off the backboard, then catching it in midair and throwing it off the backboard again before throwing it down—the type of dunk you need to see in slow motion to truly appreciate.

But his first dunk of the final round is where he came up short. With help from his dad, who bested Dr. J in the 1984 dunk contest, the first one ever to be featured during NBA All-Star Weekend, Nance Jr. threw down an alley-oop windmill.

But the Cavaliers big man would only land one 10 from the judges, accompanied by for four 9s, including one from judge Dr. J.

Afterward, he joked—we think—that Dr. J had vindictively hurt the scores of the offspring of his former dunking rival.

“Yeah Dr. J held back, he held back,” Nance Jr. said with a grin. “He did not want to see another Larry Nance win. I blame it on him.”