CHICAGO — Aaron Gordon was down to his final dunk, in need of a 49 or better to win his first slam dunk contest.
He wanted to do something special, like dunk on a big man.
Former Celtic Shaquille O'Neal was nearby, but he declined.
Gordon took a quick glimpse into the crowd and saw Boston's Tacko Fall nearby.
Fall —all 7-foot-5 (without shoes) of him—stood in the paint for what was a crowd-razing dunk that many felt would secure Gordon his first slam dunk title.
Then came back the scores. To the surprise of many, Gordon fell one point short, 48-47, to Miami's Derrick Jones Jr.
After Gordon's dunk over Tacko, it was clear Jones had doubts about whether he was going to win.
"He's a very tall human being," Jones said.of Tacko. "If I thought of it earlier, I would have did it."
Gordon added: "What are we doing? Who set the dunk contest up? Who set this up?"
Then he explained both his disappointment in not winning, and his rationale for involving Tacko.
"I wanted to jump over Shaq. He didn't want to do it," Gordon explained. "So, it was really for the people. Everybody was like, 'Tacko, Tacko!' He's the tallest dude in the gym. Dunking over somebody whose 7-5 and dunking it, it's no easy feat. What I get like a 47? Come on, man. What we doing?"
Fall is in Chicago this weekend participating in the NBA's Basketball Without Borders as a counselor, along with making some promotional appearances. He's also appeared at some of the All-Star events and more often than not, has received a louder ovation from fans than some of the players who will be playing in Sunday's All-Star Game.