Trending: ‘Ultima Thule’ no more: New Horizons’ space snowman is named Arrokoth
Via Twitter @NBA.

First the Super Bowl. Now NBA All-Star Weekend.

Intel’s drones made another appearance on a big-time sports stage, just two weeks after appearing at Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show. 

During Saturday’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest, part of an annual NBA event that also includes the All Star Game and 3-point contest, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon used Intel’s “AscTec Neo” drone to perform one of his dunks — the first ever to be completed with assistance from a drone.

“There it is, the Intel drone!” TNT announcer Kevin Harlan said on the national live broadcast as an Intel logo appeared on screen. “Fresh off the Lady Gaga Super Bowl halftime performance.”

As Star Wars theme music played on the stadium speakers, the drone hovered over the rim and dropped the ball as Gordon ran toward the hoop. He let the ball bounce once before slamming it home — though it took him four tries to complete the stunt successfully. The judges only gave him a 38 out of 50 possible points.

Here was the reaction on Twitter:

Here are the details on the Intel drone:

Before Gordon completed his dunk, TNT color commentator Kenny “The Jet” Smith said “that drone, I gotta get one of those,” while fellow analyst Shaquille O’Neal noted that “$1,500, Best Buy, I bought one and lost it the same day.”

[For more from Kenny, Shaq, and Charles Barkley, check out GeekWire’s interviews with the Inside The NBA crew from CES

In a blog post written before Saturday for Lucid, a mental training app for athletes, Gordon wrote that “obviously, I can’t reveal what tricks I have up my sleeve, but let’s just say that I’m really big on innovation.”

Aaron Gordon practices his dunk with Intel’s drone overhead. Photo via Intel.

An Intel press release noted that Gordon was born and raised in Silicon Valley, while his mother is an Intel employee.

“I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to do for this year’s contest pretty much since the contest ended last year,” Gordon said in a statement. “I wanted to incorporate technology and do something creative and unique, which is why I was so excited to partner with Intel. Originality for me is key. I wanted to avoid doing anything gimmicky and get back to the creativity of the contest. And what better way to do that than to surprise the crowd with a drone powered by Intel?”

Last year, Gordon won the Slam Dunk title after he used a hoverboard as a prop for one dunk.

Intel continues to market its drones during sporting events. During the Super Bowl halftime show two weeks ago, Intel showed off one of its drone performances, using 300 quadcopters to create different images and logos in the sky.

Intel has partnered with the NBA in the past; during last year’s NBA All Star Weekend, it showed off its 360-degree replay technology. The company is making a big push into the sports world as a way to demonstrate its products and services.

“When Aaron Gordon approached Intel with the idea to complete the first-ever drone assisted slam dunk, we couldn’t wait to support him in his quest,” Anil Nanduri, vice president of Intel’s Drone Segment, said in a statement. “Intel is leading and committed to bringing new capabilities and innovations to the drone ecosystem, so obviously our team saw this as an opportunity to do just that. Our goal as a brand is to use technology to create amazing experiences and I can think of no better way to prove that than by working with Aaron on this historic dunk attempt.”

In other NBA All-Star Weekend-related tech news, can someone get Paul Pierce some tech support?

Sports junkie? Subscribe to GeekWire's Sports Tech weekly newletter


Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.