SALT LAKE CITY — It’s safe to say the people know who Mac McClung is now.
Once the poster boy for the NBA’s slam dunk contest’s path toward irrelevance, sporting a field of obscure participants rather than the certified stars of the past, McClung stole the show.
With only two games of NBA experience during past stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and Chicago Bulls, McClung was signed to a two-way contract by the Philadelphia 76ers earlier in the week and dominated Saturday’s slam dunk contest at NBA All-Star Weekend with a near-perfect performance.
Three of McClung’s four dunks earned him straight 50s by the panel of judges, and he completed all of them on his first attempt, generating a palpable buzz through the Vivint Arena crowd as he prepared for every subsequent stuff.
McClung opened up the contest with straight 50s, as he took the ball from a friend sitting on another friend’s shoulders, tapped it against the backboard and put it through the hoop. His second dunk, a whirling helicopter, two-handed, 360-degree stuff, earned him a 49.8. Lisa Leslie was the only judge to prevent him from opening up with two straight perfect scores.
He opened up the final round by again taking the ball from a person holding it over their head — just one person this time — and performed a pronounced double pump before finishing the dunk with a two-handed reverse. He earned another 50.
For his final flourish, McClung put on his Gate City High School uniform over his red Sixers uniform and threw down a 540-degree, two-handed dunk — 1½ turns in the air — to run away with the trophy.
After his last dunk, McClung was surrounded by a euphoric group of All-Stars in attendance, stunned by what they just witnessed, and motioned to the camera, “It’s over!” mimicking Kenny Smith’s famous broadcast call during Vince Carter’s legendary dunk contest win in Oakland in 2000.
McClung edged out Trey Murphy III of the New Orleans Pelicans in the final round.