New 76ers two-way contract player Mac McClung hoped to make the most of his NBA All-Star Weekend experience.
After competing in the Jordan Rising Stars competition on Friday night, the 6-foot-2 McClung took center stage for the NBA Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
The eighth 76er in history to participate in the event, he won. And he’s the first to win.
McClung takes home the newly-named Julius “Dr. J” Erving Trophy as the franchise’s first-ever dunk contest champion.
"Oh wow,” McClung said. “It feels amazing. It's all a blur right now, to be honest. But I had a lot of help and I'm very appreciative."
McClung, 24, was just signed by the Sixers on Tuesday.
In 18 regular season games this season for the Delaware Blue Coats – the Sixers’ G League affiliate – McClung averaged a team-best 19.1 points per game. As a two-way player, he remains eligible to play games in Delaware.
When news broke of his signing with the Sixers, McClung tweeted “stay the course,” and again echoed that message at the podium in a crowded interview room on Saturday night. A room full of reporters, NBA staff, family members, friends, and more eagerly hung on his every word for the next 10 minutes.
“I think in my situation, I'm not really worried about what other people think, good or bad. I'm just staying the course. My goal is to make an impact in the NBA, and I'm just going to keep working until that happens.”
He played one game for the Chicago Bulls and one game for the Los Angeles Lakers last season.
Still, a YouTube search for Mac McClung prior to this weekend yielded 22 videos with at least one million views from his high school days in Gate City (VA) – through Georgetown and Texas Tech – and then the pros.
“It’s pretty wild. He’s never shied away from the spotlight,” said New York Knicks center and fellow dunk contest competitor Jericho Sims on Saturday morning, nearly nine hours before showtime.
There is now a 23rd such YouTube result:
“The FULL 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest” will soon top the entire list, at that.
McClung is a fan of the popular TV show Ted Lasso. On multiple occasions this season, and at least once in recent days, he alluded to a scene in which the soccer coach plays darts in a bar.
“Be curious, not judgemental.”
On Saturday night with the world watching, Mac McClung responded to any question or criticism about him with one of the greatest performances of all-time.
“If you manifest and put your mind to it, you can literally make your life and reinvent yourself every day,” McClung said in the interview room, before giving a sincere thank you to the group and exiting.
A slow clap turned into a full round of applause.
It was that good of a show.
McClung’s busy weekend concludes with the NBA G League Next Up Game on Sunday afternoon, but the main event for a new teammate of his is the NBA All-Star Game in the evening. Joel Embiid is now a six-time NBA All-Star starter.
The pregame NBA All-Star Draft presented by Jordan Brand will take place at approximately 7:30 p.m. ET.
Quote to Note:
What McClung wants Sixers fans to know about him:
“I’m a competitor. I’m a dog. I love this game, more than anything in the world. I come to compete. I come to win. I know that’s what Philly is about. It’s just a bunch of dogs. So I’m super happy to be here.”
Follow Along Sunday:
NBA G League Next Up Game (McClung):
Watch: 3 p.m. ET on NBA TV
72nd NBA All-Star Game (Embiid):
Watch: 8:30 p.m. ET on TNT