The Dunk Contest Is Back!*

* It never really left. In fact, it's usually pretty good. But we're in the headline biz, ya see? Play along.

Look at the man above. The one sitting down. In the sky.

The man presents a stark revelation: Our species has outgrown the physical constraints of our surroundings. Gravity is obsolete. Time itself is in question. Cars parallel park on their own. It is time for us to leave this place we call Earth. There is nothing left for us here.

We must not resign ourselves to domination by the artificially intelligent creatures of our own creation. This is not our destiny. Our ambitions must reach beyond this orb, deep into the cosmos, where new challenges await. We are called to raise the difficulty level on the game of life.

Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine (mostly Aaron Gordon) delivered this epiphany to the masses Saturday night. Capping off  "the best All-Star Saturday ever" (they're all pretty good), the duo performed previously unimaginable feats with such ease that the silliness of the contest itself was put in perspective. Witnesses had no choice but to reevaluate the limits of humankind: Where do we go from here?

Anyway, here are the best "dunks," if putting grand achievements in boxes is your thing:

Affluent adults fork over large sums of money to yoga institutes in hopes that they will one day be able to reach behind their backs with ease.

Aaron Gordon jumped over a mascot, picked up the ball between his legs and slammed it through the hoop with his right hand while nearly grazing his head on the rim.

Nothing more aptly sums up the plight of the modern dunker. An entire brand identity and cultural empire was built on Michael Jordan doing a less flashy version of this. And yet here we sit, ho-hum, seen it before, he stepped on the line, etc., etc. (Never mind the fact that Jordan and others also stomped on the line.) LaVine made this look too easy.

Nothing to see here, really. Gordon just retrieved the ball from a mascot spinning on wheels  and proceeded to do a 360 one-handed cuffed windmill Mailman. Run-of-the-mill stuff.

Say it out loud: Aaron Gordon brought his legs parallel to the ground and passed the ball beneath his knee caps. The action is so preposterous and the image so enduring that we forget his assist man really is a mascot named Stuff the Magic Dragon.

LaVine once again jumped from the free throw line—a distance nearly 15 feet from the hoop—and added a windmill motion to the mix. Most of us would struggle to do this on a Fisher-Price hoop right now.

My spirit is too captivated by Elfrid Payton's breathtaking jacket to notice anything else. Was the dunk any good?

Not too long ago, a dunk of this magnitude would lead SportsCenter for days! This was the 7th-best dunk of the hour.

Zach LaVine won, mostly by virtue of him going last. To be sure, a between-the-legs distance dunk is worthy of a perfect score. But in the end, there were no winners and losers here—only a united human race. |ES|

Timnba