Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. celebrated his 23rd birthday by winning the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, edging Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon in a memorable showdown that required two tiebreaker jams.
Jones and Gordon each got a perfect 50 on both of their dunks in the final. Then they got two more perfect scores on their first jam in the dunk-off.
Jones then took off from just inside the foul line and threw down a windmill jam with his left hand, drawing a 48 from the panel of five judges.
After a short discussion with Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, Gordon brought out 7-foot-5 Boston Celtics rookie Tacko Fall and positioned him near the basket. He then took the ball from Fall's hands on his way to a thunderous dunk.
The United Center gasped as the courtside NBA stars celebrated. But Gordon was awarded a 47, giving the victory to Jones. Gordon had received five consecutive perfect scores of 50 until his final dunk over Fall.
Gordon also lost a memorable dunk contest to Zach LaVine in 2016.
Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard returned to the NBA All-Star Saturday Slam Dunk competition for the first time since 2009. Howard had previously won the contest in 2008.
Howard's first dunk was an unimpressive no look slam, that received a 41 from the judges.
However, on Howard's second dunk, he not only stripped off his Lakers' jersey to reveal the return of Superman, but he also paid tribute to Lakers' legend Kobe Bryant, by revealing a second Superman logo with the number 24 on it. Howard also donned a red cape, and used a Kobe Bryant signed basketball to perform his second dunk.
The 34-year-old took off from just in front of the free throw line, grabbed an assist from former Orlando Magic teammate, Jammer Nelson, and threw down a one-handed slam. The judges gave Howard a score of 49, but combined with his first score, he did not advance to the finals.
The original Superman, Shaquille O'Neal, watched the dunk courtside as part of the NBA on TNT broadcast, and refused to recognize Howard as Superman saying, "He's just Dwight."
NBA 3-Point Contest
Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield made a late surge to win the NBA 3-Point Contest.
Hield nailed a two-point money ball from the corner to finish with 27 points, edging Phoenix Suns All-Star Devin Booker by one in the final round.
Hield is one of the few bright spots for struggling Sacramento, averaging 20.4 points while shooting about 39 percent from 3-point range.
Washington's Davis Bertans opened the second and final round with a 22, before Booker eliminated him.
Defending champion Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago's Zach LaVine were eliminated after they failed to crack the top three in the first round.
Five racks with five balls each were set up around the perimeter — two in the corner, two on the wings and one up top. Four of those racks had four balls worth one point each plus a multi-colored two-point ball. The other had nothing but moneyballs.
There were also two green balls worth three points set up six feet behind the 3-point line.
NBA All-Star Skills Challenge
Miami's Bam Adebayo has won the All-Star skills challenge.
Adebayo narrowly defeated Indiana's Domantas Sabonis in the final in a matchup of All-Star big men. He shared a hug with former Heat star Dwyane Wade after accepting the trophy.
Adebayo eliminated 2018 champion Spencer Dinwiddie and Raptors star Pascal Siakam in the first two rounds on the obstacle course. Sabonis advanced with victories over defending champion Jayson Tatum and Milwaukee's Khris Middleton.
The 22-year-old Adebayo is in the middle of a breakout season, averaging 15.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 54 games for the Heat.