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February 17, 2017

Aaron Gordon

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. So we saw you last year, big competition with Zach LaVine and amazing ideas. What are your ideas this year?
AARON GORDON: You're going to have to wait until Saturday to see my ideas. It's going to be innovative. It's going to be technologically oriented. It's going to be original and creative. You'll see Saturday night.

Q. How is the All-Star weekend in New Orleans? Second time in the last four years.
AARON GORDON: Yeah, it's energetic. It's fun. It's lively. Got a lot of different things going on. I'm excited to be here.

Q. Did you try to convince Zach LaVine to take part in it again?

Q. Are you disappointed that he's not?

Q. Let's talk about Orlando. Orlando, no chance to reach playoffs this year.

Q. Not true. What do you need to come back next year?
AARON GORDON: We still have a chance this year. There's plenty of basketball left to be played. We need to work on continuing to improve, continuing to build camaraderie, chemistry, and an efficiency and consistency in our team. We will do that day by day.

Q. Aaron, you've only had him for a couple of days as a teammate, but Terrence Ross is a former dunk champion. Have you had a chance to talk to him at all?
AARON GORDON: I talked to him a little bit just to welcome him to our organization, make sure that he's comfortable, make sure he's happy. I'm looking forward to playing with him once we get back after All-Star break.

Q. He's already ceded the title of best dunker on the team to you.
AARON GORDON: He's being humble. He can really dunk. He has the trophy. I don't.

Q. What do you remember most about last year?
AARON GORDON: I don't know. The whole thing was incredible. What I remember most, I guess, is sitting in my hotel room reminiscing with my parents right after the dunk contest.

Q. Is there any gratification knowing that, when everyone looks back at the dunk competition, you going over the mascot is what everyone sees? They don't see LaVine's last dunk. Are you still burned that you didn't win it?
AARON GORDON: No, not at all. The gratification comes from competing and completing my dunks. So I was validated and gratified last year right after I did all of them. Once I made all my dunks, that's all I needed.

Q. There was so much talk afterward that it reinvigorated the dunk contest. Did you feel that?
AARON GORDON: Yeah, definitely. The dunk contest was getting dull. People were starting to count it out. They were actually talking about putting the three-point contest at the end of the night instead of the dunk contest at the end of the night because there were so many great shooters. There's no more talk about that.

Q. I know winning the dunk contest is a priority. How cool is it to take it to the next level this year compared to last year?
AARON GORDON: Just being able to one-up myself, that's what I'm looking to do. I'm not looking to play it safe nor maintain. I'm looking to excite and get a whole bunch of 10s on my dunks. It would be nice to come back the second straight year and show people I have more.

Q. In your opinion, where would you rank your performance last year in the dunk contest versus all the other dunk performances?
AARON GORDON: Man, it's got to be right up there with Vince Carter. It has to be. Jordan, Dominique, that was two big-name guys dunking at each other. But you go back and look at the dunks, and they were pretty basic.

Q. Are you making stuff up during the contest?
AARON GORDON: No, it's all premeditated. It's a big stage. There's a lot of people watching. A lot of people want to see a good show, and I believe to put on a good show takes preparation. I go in prepared.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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