Nobody McClung Is Somebody Special Now

Photo By Christopher Doomes


By William Clay III, Staff Writer 


SALT LAKE CITY – Persistence until your name is called. Some of the best stories in sports start like that.


Mac McClung told the world he practiced two new dunks he was “sure” no one had done before. Although only 6-foot-2, the high flier within the Philadelphia Sixers organization did not disappoint Saturday as he became the winner of this year’s NBA Dunk Contest. McClung had former high school teammate Bradley Dean lob him a few dunks. After the contest, he said Dean helped him watch videos of previous dunks. 


“Just a lot of research with my friends and we just looked at professional dunkers as well as the NBA Slam Dunk contest because we just tried to make something up,” McClung said. 


Friday night, the guard played in the Rising Stars game on a team full of G-Leaguers. Just four days before the contest, McClung signed a two-way deal with the Sixers. His eventful journey has included being teammates with LeBron James and Stephen Curry. 


After going undrafted in 2021, McClung has been with the Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, and the Sixers. Just recently he was with the Delaware Blue Coats in the NBA G-League and now has his league opportunity. More than 2.9 million people have seen his YouTube high school mixtape. Now the world has seen him soar. 


To earn his perfect, opening round 50 score, he jumped over two men, touched the ball on the backboard, then reverse dunked. His next dunk was a 360 windmill for a score of 49.8 after Judge Lisa Leslie did not give him two points. 


The former Georgetown Hoya put the finishing touches on his victory with a 540-degree dunk he didn’t expect to complete.“To be honest the 540 dunk, I didn’t make it at all yesterday (as he practiced),” he said. 


His nearly perfect score in all three rounds had stars like Giannis Antetoukounmpo, Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O’Neal enthusiastically cheering him. That distinguished audience included stars off the court as well, including Gabrielle Union and Michael B. Jordan. 


Before the contest, McClung stated he would perform two dunks he was sure “had never been done before.” He watched videos with his friends to make sure he was right.


“The first dunk I haven’t seen before, so hopefully it’s not out there,” McClung said.


He had played only two NBA games at the time of the NBA Dunk Contest, by far the fewest games played by a winner. Second, on the list is the late great Kobe Bryant with 39. Trying to make a name for himself went well for McClung as astonished fans tweeted it all Saturday night.