Mac McClung rises to bury title on All-Star Saturday (2023)

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Mac McClung rises to bury title on All-Star Saturday (1)

Associated Press

tim reynolds

Posted on February 18, 2023read 4 minutes

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Mac McClung rises to bury title on All-Star Saturday (2)

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SALT LAKE CITY — Mac McClung may have single-handedly reignited a dunk contest that has drawn much criticism in recent years.

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Mac McClung rises to bury title on All-Star Saturday (3)


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Mac McClung climbs to All-Star Slam Dunk title on Saturday back to video

And Damian Lillard represented his school and his brand and made them both proud.

Mac McClung rises to bury title on All-Star Saturday (4)

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McClung, the 6-foot-tall Philadelphia point guard with a two-way contract, defeated New Orleans' Trey Murphy III in the final of the dunk contest, culminating in an NBA All-Star Saturday that may finally have the question about whether the former league figurehead could return.

McClung had the answer: Absolutely.

"I'm really blessed and grateful that the NBA has given me this opportunity," McClung said.

A 540 dunk – not a 360 but a 540, he did a spin and a half in the air – was his third perfect score that night in four dunks, but when the judges' score came in, it was decided. Everyone in the building knew they had already won.

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"It's over," McClung said.

Was. And immediately he vowed to defend his title at next year's All-Star Saturday in Indianapolis.

"If you've got me, I'll be back," McClung said.

His story is incredible: McClung mainly played in the G League. Philadelphia would become his third NBA team, and he hasn't even played for the 76ers. He played one game for the Chicago Bulls and one game for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.

He has three NBA baskets.

He had four dunks Saturday night. A guy with more dunks than actual NBA field goals might have saved the dunk contest.

"Give that man his flowers, man," said TNT commentator Kenny Smith.


McClung set the tone for the night with a dunk that stunned NBA stars: He jumped over two people, knocked the ball out of one's hand, slammed it into the backboard, and then threw a reverse punch.

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And that was just the beginning.

Seizing the moment of that perfect dunk, he finally lifted the trophy recently named after dunk legend and former 76ers star Julius “Dr. J'Erving.

McClung was also near perfect on his second dunk; four judges gave him a perfect 50, Lisa Leslie gave him a 49 as the only discrepancy, but that didn't matter, he was already guaranteed a spot in the final round against Murphy.

New Yorker Jericho Sims gave himself a 50 on his second dunk, where he tied an envelope to the net, lowered it after the dunk, and showed the world "50." None of the judges agreed, and his 95.4 two-dunk score wasn't good enough to make it to the final.

Also eliminated after Round 1: Houston's Kenyon Martin Jr. with 93.2 points.

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Portland's star Lillard won the 3-point shootout by defeating Indiana teammates Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton in the final round.

Lillard wore a Weber State jersey with "Dolla" written across the back. Weber State is your university; plays under the name Dame D.O.L.L.A. And when he won the trophy, he was wearing a Blazers warm-up jersey for the time being.

"They say third time is the appeal," said Lillard, who claimed his first 3-point title on his third attempt at the event. "And I'm glad it happened here. It's a perfect situation. I'm glad I came home and came back here to Utah."

Lillard won the final round with 26 points. Hield was 25 and Haliburton was 17.

Lillard played his college games in Ogden, Utah, about a half hour from Salt Lake City. And the historic fork of finally getting a 3-point title hasn't escaped his attention.

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"The best pitchers in the history of our game, most of them have one of those," Lillard said as he held up the trophy. "I only wanted to do it once. And now I have it, so I can retire."

Haliburton won the first round by 31 points. Lillard was 26 and Herod 23.

The first round eliminated Boston's Jayson Tatum, Utah's Lauri Markkanen, Miami's Tyler Herro, New York's Julius Randle and Sacramento's Kevin Huerter.


Utah posted a victory on Saturday night to open the All-Star.

The Jazz, a team made up of Utah players Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler and Collin Sexton, won Saturday night's Skills Challenge, winning two of the three contests.

"It feels good, especially against the home team," Sexton said.

(Video) Travis McClung - Introducing Travis

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The Rooks finished second, with Orlando's Paolo Banchero, Detroit's Jaden Ivey and Houston's Jabari Smith Jr. scoring 100 points.

"I had a lot of fun doing it even though we went L," said Banchero, who was part of the winning team in Friday's Rising Stars games. “It was a lot of fun to be in front of the fans. Skills challenge, I saw this all the time during All Star weekend. It was great to be a part of it.”

The Antetokounmpos finished third, with Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Alex Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday, a replacement for injured Milwaukee Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo, out.

The Rooks won the 100-point team relay after setting the fastest time in a drive that saw teams make a 35-foot pass to the outside, a dribble, a short jumper, a 3-point left corner kick and then a dunk in the Other ending.

Next up was the team passing event, which the Jazz won, earning him 100 points, after being the most accurate in a series of 35-foot wide passes, 20-foot jump passes, and 25-foot chest passes. feet.

It ended with the 200 point team shooting event where the Jazz prevailed to secure the win.

"We did that for Utah, man," Clarkson said.


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