McClung soars to slam dunk title in signature event
Mac McClung might have single-handedly restored the shine on a dunk contest that has been widely panned in recent years.
And Damian Lillard represented his school and his brand, doing them both proud.
McClung, the 6-foot-2 Philadelphia guard on a two-way contract, defeated New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III in the finals of the dunk contest, culminating an NBA All-Star Saturday that may have finally answered the question as to whether what used to be the league’s signature event can be glitzy again.
McClung had the answer: Absolutely.
“I’m truly blessed and grateful for the NBA giving me this opportunity,” McClung said.
A 540-degree dunk — not a 360, a 540, him doing one-and-a-half rotations in the air — was his third perfect score of the night out of four dunks, but by the time the judges’ scores came up it was already decided. Everyone in the building knew he’d already won.
“It’s over,” McClung said. It was. And he immediately committed to defending his title at Indianapolis at All-Star Saturday next year.
“If you guys will have me, I’ll be back,” McClung said.
His is an unbelievable story: McClung has played mostly in the G League.
Philadelphia would become his third NBA team, and he hasn’t even played for the 76ers yet. He played in one game last season for the Chicago Bulls, one other game for the Los Angeles Lakers.
He has three NBA baskets.
He had four dunks on Saturday night. A guy with more dunks than actual NBA field goals might have saved the dunk contest.
“Give this man his flowers, man,” TNT commentator Kenny Smith said.