G-Leaguer Mac McClung STUNS NBA stars by ascending to victory in the dunk contest with a stunning two-handed 540 slam and becoming the first non-league player to win the event
G-League star Mac McClung may have single-handedly restored the shine to a dunk contest that has been widely panned in recent years.
McClung, the 6-foot-2 guard from Philadelphia on a two-way contract, defeated New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III in the final of the dunk contest, capping an NBA All-Star Saturday that marked the celebratory event of the evening may have finally revived.
“I am truly blessed and grateful that the NBA is giving me this opportunity,” McClung said.
A 540-degree dunk — not a 360, but a 540 in which he makes a rotation and a half in the air, a move more reserved for figure skaters and skateboarders than basketball players — was his third perfect score of the night of four dunks. When the judges’ rating became known, it was already decided. Everyone in the building knew they had already won.
G-Leaguer Mac McClung was the first non-NBA player to ever win the slam dunk contest
McClung hit an outstanding and incredibly difficult 540 dunk to cement his shocking win
He was presented with the trophy by Basketball Hall of Famer and trophy namesake Julius Irving
“It’s over,” McClung said.
It was. And he immediately committed to defending his title at next year’s All-Star Saturday in Indianapolis.
“If you guys want me, I’ll come back,” McClung said.
The end result, regardless, was McClung 100.0, Murphy 98.0.
His story is incredible: McClung has played mostly in the G-League, where he’s ranked 36th this season with 19 points per game. He was not drafted in 2021 after spending three college seasons at Georgetown and Texas Tech. He was signed by Golden State last year but never played in a regular season game for the Warriors and also spent some time on USA Basketball’s World Cup qualifiers last year.
McClung has been known among hardcore basketball fans for a number of years for his outstanding dunking ability, although this has not translated to NBA success.
Before joining the 76ers, he played one game for the Chicago Bulls and one game for the Los Angeles Lakers last season. He has three NBA baskets during his short-lived stints in the league.
He had four dunks on Saturday night.
“Give that man his flowers, man,” said TNT commentator Kenny Smith.
New York Knicks center Jericho Sims and Houston Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. also attended the event.
OMG!! #mackmcclung WHITE MEN CAN DUNK!! -Sidney Deane says “Whooo so pretty!! Bravo.” 🙌🏿
— Wesley Snipes (@wesleysnipes) February 19, 2023
After his 540 dunk, the countless NBA stars on the sidelines reacted emphatically to the dunk
McClung also completed a two-person dunk on each other’s shoulders during the contest
McClung spent the season with Philadelphia’s G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats
He was one of several G-League players selected to play in the NBA Rising Stars game
McClung set the tone for the night with a dunk that left NBA superstars in disbelief – he jumped over two people, took the ball from one of them, knocked it on the board and then threw a reverse slam. And that was just the beginning.
Riding the momentum of that perfect dunk, he finally heaved it Trophy newly renamed Dunking Legend – and former 76ers star – Julius’ Dr. J’Erving.
McClung was also near perfect on his second dunk; four judges gave him a perfect 50, Lisa Leslie was the only dissenter to give him a 49, but it didn’t matter – he was already guaranteed a place in the final round against Murphy.
Sims gave himself a 50 on his second dunk, where he attached an envelope to the net, pulled it down after the dunk, and showed the world “50.” No judge agreed and his two-dunk score of 95.4 was not good enough to advance to the final round.
Also eliminated after round one was Martin Jr. with a score of 93.2.