The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest received a jolt of life from a relatively unknown former G-Leaguer, Philadelphia 76ers guard Matthew “Mac” McClung. The former G League Rookie of the Year shocked the world with his near-flawless dunks that belied his 6-foot-2 frame.
With judges like Jamal Crawford, Karl “The Mailman” Malone, the first woman to ever dunk in the WNBA, Lisa Leslie, and the Human Highlight Film himself, Dominque Wilkins, McClung proved he belonged with the greatest dunkers ever to grace the hallowed contest’s stage.
Mac McClung Is Mr. Slam Dunk
On Saturday night, McClung stole the show scoring a perfect 50 for three of his four dunks, with the lone blemish coming from Lisa Leslie. Earlier in the week, he signed a two-way contract with the Sixers; not a bad way to start 2023.
The competition was stiff as McClung faced Kenyon Martin Jr. (Houston Rockets), Jericho Sims (New York Knicks), and Trey Murphy III (New Orleans Pelicans), who he would face off against in the final round.
In the opening round, McClung showed his hops, jumping over a person that sat on another person’s shoulders, picking the ball out of his hands, tapping the backboard, and finishing with a reverse slam. The judges couldn’t help but award him a perfect 50 out of the gate.
McClung’s second dunk was a 360 pirouette that ended in two-handed stuff. The move punched his ticket to the final round with Trey Murphy III, but McClung still needed to finish, and he did so emphatically.
Mac McClung With The Finish
McClung crushed the competition and sealed the victory, jumping over another person and completing one-and-a-half turns in the air for a 540 dunk to secure another perfect 5-0. From the looks of his NBA peers, celebrities, and the standing ovation of judges Jamal Crawford and two-time slam dunk champion Dominique Wilkins, McClung singlehandedly resuscitated the NBA All-Star break contest.
“The crowd was really amazing tonight,” McClung said after his win on CNN. “It was a blessing. It’s really cool man. I mean I’ll be able to tell my kids and brag about it one day. But yeah, the goal is to play in the NBA. I’m gonna keep working every day. I’m very hungry and I’m resilient, so I’m gonna keep working.”
The 24-year-old is now the shortest player since 1986 to rack up three perfect scores. That was the year Spud Webb won. McClung is the first 76ers player to win the NBA slam dunk contest. The praise from his superstar peers and his new team came fast on social media.
“Man was a viral HOH high school dunk phenom, still working his way to the League, but lemme go get that dunk contest trophy right quick and bring it back to life!!! Unreal,” Steph Curry tweeted.
The Sixers joined in on the praise.
“y’all asked “who is Mac McClung?” NOW YOU KNOW,” the 76ers tweeted.
White Men Can Jump
McClung’s performance was akin to Woody Harrelson’s hustle-worthy playground play in the movie “White Men Can’t Jump.” The only exception: McClung gave flawless execution off the top, proving he can place the soul in the hole.