Boston Celtics

Highlights from Jaylen Brown's NBA Dunk Contest debut

Jaylen Brown turned the 2024 NBA Dunk Contest into a show by paying homage to basketball greats.

NBC Universal, Inc.

On a night that began with the TNT broadcasting crew labeling Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown as just a game dunker without tricks, the former-third overall pick quickly garnered their respect after bringing creativity back into a dunk contest that has lacked star power for the past few years.

Despite finishing in second place -- falling to the defending champion, Mac McClung -- Brown put on a show that should leave fans of the event feeling refreshed and revitalized with hope that stars could once again start to return to the event, which was Brown's goal all along.

First Dunk

Brown started off his dunk contest debut by putting on a show -- literally. Pulling out a body double of NBA and dunk contest royalty Dominique Wilkins, Brown paid homage to one of the event's best with his first dunk. The Wilkins body double hit the court to show Brown how to replicate his iconic windmill dunk, which Brown -- an Atlanta native himself -- replicated to a tee, making sure his tongue was sticking out as Wilkins did back when he won the 1991 dunk contest with the exact same dunk.

Unfortunately, TNT missed airing the dunk in real time to give the Wilkins body double more airtime, and social media was quick to react to TNT's mistake.

The judges -- one of which was Wilkins himself -- loved the nod to the former great, as Brown earned a score of 49 from all but Gary Payton, who gave a 48, giving the Celtics star the highest average score of the first round of dunks with 48.8.

Second Dunk

Brown returned to the floor for his second dunk, this time bringing out Boston teammate Jayson Tatum and popular streamer and celebrity game player Kai Cenat.

Despite missing first attempt -- which came off of a bad pass from Tatum -- Brown returned to his starting position, pumped up his shoes in a nod to former Celtics' dunk contest winner Dee Brown, jumped over Cenat while catching the lob with one hand from Tatum, and replicated Brown's 1991 no-look dunk by tucking his head into his arm after he completed the dunk.

After the dunk went in, the LED court changed to the iconic Boston parquet, which the Indiana audience loudly booed in protest to. The protest from the fans continued after the judges gave Brown's second dunk a score of 47.6, sending him into the next round to face off against McClung.

Third Dunk

Brown's first dunk of the final round honored Boston local Terrence Clarke -- a once promising NBA prospect who unfortunately passed away in a car accident at the age of 19.

Wearing Clarke's high school jersey from Brewster Academy while the LED court turned into the memorial for the Kentucky Wildcat, Brown came down the baseline and finished a 180-degree windmill with power. Upon finishing his dunk, Brown held his hands to form a heart and then pointed at Clarke's name on the back of the jersey.

The TNT crew once again called Brown an in-game dunker, claiming the Boston wing had already done similar dunks in real game situations. Although the broadcast crew didn't love the dunk, they were quick to praise Brown for his creativity on the night, making each round more than just a dunk.

Brown received a 48.6, once again causing a loud eruption of boos from crowd. McClung's first dunk of the final round received a 48.8, putting Brown at an early but small deficit.

Fourth Dunk

Brown's final dunk was a statement -- the three-time All-Star can use his left hand.

With the help of Donovan Mitchell, who also attended Brewster Academy, Brown sported a flashy white glove on his left hand, similar to that which pop star Michael Jackson frequently used in his performances. In an attempt to silence his critics, Brown took the ball from Mitchell's back while clearing him, finishing hard with just his left hand.

The dunk -- which was more appreciated after seeing it in slow motion -- received a score 49.2 that included a perfect 50 from Wilkins. The crowd was quick to show their disagreement of the score, once again showering Brown and the judges with loud boos.

Needing a score of 49.1 to win, McClung's final dunk featured the G-League player clearing Shaquille O'Neal to get a perfect score of 50, defeating Brown and defending his crown as the back-to-back Dunk Contest champion.

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