Sixers’ Mac McClung “saves,” wins NBA Dunk Contest

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Mac McClung of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts after winning the slam dunk competition of the NBA basketball All-Star weekend Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rob Gray)

Mac McClung, recently signed to a two-way contract by the Sixers, was invited to the NBA All-Star Weekend Dunk Contest this week and, after winning, has “saved the dunk contest,” according to Shaquille O’Neal.

If you follow basketball, you may know McClung from his high school highlight tapes of him dunking and scoring, playing for Gate City High School in Virginia. He broke the Virginia High School scoring record, previously held by Allen Iverson, during his senior year playoffs. He finished the year leading his Gate City team to the Virginia State High School Championship, scoring 47 points in the title game, surpassing another former Sixers star, JJ Reddick, for the most points in a title game.

After high school, McClung attended Georgetown University and then transferred to Texas Tech. He went undrafted in the 2021 NBA Draft and has since bounced around to the Lakers, Bulls, and Warriors on G-League or 10-day contracts.

Prior to the 2022/23 season, he signed with the Sixers’ G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. For the Blue Coats, McClung is averaging 19.2 points per game on 57.6% shooting and 50% from three-pointers. This past week, the Sixers signed McClung to a two-way contract for the remainder of the season, and he was subsequently invited to the Dunk Contest at NBA All-Star Weekend.

Now, after Saturday night, as Shaq told him prior to the competition, he’s making sure that everyone knows his name.

McClung finished the competition with three dunks with scores of 50, and only his second dunk, which was a 49.8, was the only blemish on a near-perfect contest for the 24-year-old. Jumping over two people, tapping the ball off the backboard, and then reversing it home got the crowd excited.

A windmill, reverse 360, got everyone hype as well.

He hit a double pump reverse over another guy that had Kenny Smith declaring that it was a 49.5

The icing on the cake was a 540, two-handed dunk while wearing his Gate City High School Jersey that lit the whole arena up, and he finished with the classic Vince Carter “it’s over” gesture. Kenny Smith screamed, “it’s over,” and the crowd, players, and Hall of Famers like Dwayne Wade and Shaquille O’Neal all left shaking their heads in amazement.

For a young player that’s been working to get a chance in the league, McClung was excited about the invitation and made the most of his opportunity. He’s the 2023 NBA Dunk Contest Champion, the first in Sixers’ franchise history, and he is looking forward to making his mark in the league.