Sixers' Mac McClung wins dunk contest with electrifying showing

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Mac McClung made the most of the spotlight Saturday night.

By the time he spun expertly through the air in the final round of the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest and threw down another thriller, TNT commentator Reggie Miller was proclaiming that McClung had "saved the dunk contest."

It felt perfectly fair that McClung channeled Vince Carter: The contest was indeed over.

Just days after signing a two-way contract with the Sixers, the 24-year-old McClung accepted the Julius “Dr. J” Erving Trophy. The 6-foot-2 guard is the first Sixer to win the NBA's dunk contest since the event officially began in 1984. 

“I don’t get surprised by things like this, but I’m very appreciative," McClung said on the TNT broadcast.

He promised he'd be back next year.

McClung beat the Pelicans' Trey Murphy III in the final round and helped eliminate the Rockets' Kenyon Martin Jr. and Knicks' Jericho Sims before that, although he truthfully didn't have much real competition in Salt Lake City, Utah.

In previewing the contest last month, McClung told NBC Sports Philadelphia he'd been trying to "think of some unique things that I haven't seen before" and he aimed to "just make my dunks and go from there."


He checked both boxes emphatically. McClung's first attempt was high on creativity and featured a tap off the glass before a reverse dunk.

That grabbed plenty of viewers' attention, including Tyrese Maxey and Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey. 

McClung needed no props or assistance on his second-round dunk, a twisting, kicking jam that received a 49.8 score from the judging panel.

He certainly seemed to be the strong favorite against Murphy, and his double-pump, reverse dunk drew a deserved 50.

It wasn't over quite yet, but McClung made sure to stamp the win in memorable fashion. 

While he's not just a dunker, McClung showed Saturday that there's always been ample substance behind the hype since he was a high schooler in Gate City, Virginia, breaking Allen Iverson's single-season scoring record with highlight-heavy nights. 

McClung has two NBA appearances thus far, none with the Sixers — he's played this season with their G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats — but he turned in a legitimately historic (and scintillating) performance Saturday.