Who is Mac McClung? From viral sensation to NBA Slam Dunk Champion

Newest Sixer Mac McClung wins big in Salt Lake City



Mac McClung of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots during the three-point contest of the NBA basketball All-Star weekend Saturday, Feb. 18, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rob Gray)

Just five days ago, Mac McClung wasn’t on an NBA roster; now, he is the first Sixer to win the NBA’s dunk contest since the event officially began in 1984. 

Before the dunk contest, NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal told him, “Nobody knows your name. Make ’em remember.” And he did just that. 

On Saturday night, he caught the eyes of many as he was crowned NBA Slam Dunk Champion, ending the week in which he signed a two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. 

“y’all asked “who is Mac McClung?” NOW YOU KNOW,” the 76ers tweeted.

McClung was first known as a viral Instagram star in his high school days while playing for Gate City High School in Virginia; he then went on to play at Georgetown and Texas Tech and went undrafted in 2021, trying to find an opportunity since.

When his participation was announced, fans even mocked the League for failing to convince more prominent stars. Well, Nobody’s laughing now. 

McClung started by jumping over two of his friends, tapping the ball on the backboard, and throwing down a reverse slam on his first attempt; he received a perfect 50 from the judges. His second dunk was a 360 pirouette two-handed dunk, which received a 49.8 and advanced him to the finals alongside New Orleans’ Trey Murphy III. McClung put up two more perfect scores in the finals. One with leaping over another person and dunking it in the net, and he sealed the victory with a 540 dunk while repping his high school jersey from Gate City, Virginia.

Mac McClung Dunks highlights

Before his win, hardly anyone outside of diehard basketball fans even knew his name; stars like Magic Johnson, Reggie Miller, Steph Curry, and Shaq are crediting him.

“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.

“Mac McClung has personally saved the slam dunk contest with his performance tonight!! He put on a show!,” Magic Johnson tweeted

We have yet to see the last of McClung, though. As soon as he accepted the trophy, he confirmed that he’d accept the invitation if the NBA wanted him to and said he was ready to face “whoever wants to” compete with him.

Though McClung only has two NBA appearances thus far, none with the Sixers, no matter what happens in his career from now on, he’s earned his place in league history.