The 2018 NBA All-Star break came and went, but thankfully, it left us with memories of a particularly joyous edition of everyone’s favorite event, the Slam Dunk contest. At this year’s edition of stellar slams, newly-acquired Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. electrified the crowd with a rousing tribute to his father and namesake, former NBA player Larry Nance.
Theatrics are a huge part of what makes the contest so much fun; after all, it’s not called the Lay-Up Jamboree. Fans and players are there to indulge in the gaudy spectacle that is the slam dunk, and Nance Jr.’s delivered on his end of the bargain by paying tribute to his pops. Wearing his pregame sweat suit, Nance Jr. entered a cloth partition that surrounded him on all sides, like a magician prepping a secretive new trick. He emerged clad in his father’s vintage Phoenix Suns uniform, before proceeding to replicate the reverse-no-look-windmill-dunk that won Nance Sr. the contest back in 1984.
The tribute was certainly touching, and a reverse windmill dunk may have done the trick in 30 years ago, but it won’t win a slam dunk contest in 2018. Nance Jr. upped the ante on his next attempt by dunking an alley-oop that his father bounced off the side of the backboard, but his final dunk might have been the best one of the night. The younger Larry electrified the crowd by completing a “double tap” off the backboard before slamming it home; it was so unique that the fans didn’t realize what he did until the replay popped up. While that dunk left the crowd chanting his name, Nance wasn’t able to win the contest over Donovan Mitchell’s Vince Carter tributes. Maybe next year, Junior.