He had barely played two games in the most important basketball league in the world, but that did not seem to weigh on Mac McClung. The 24-year-old, who accumulates brilliant numbers in the current season of the G-LeagI wore the Delaware Blue Coats jersey, dazzled the NBA this Saturday with a memorable performance at the All Star Game, where he defied gravity to take the dunk tournament with authority.
At the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, home of the Utah Jazz, McClung was the architect of great interventions and gave new life to a contest which aroused criticism in recent editions due to its low level.
In his first appearance, he threatened to jump over two people standing in a row, but – surely as part of his show – he invited one of them to climb on top of the other’s shoulders. It was there when he started the run, to grab the ball that the partner on top had, press it slightly against the backboard and bury it in the ring, on his back, after a spectacular jump over both.
The action captivated the public, other NBA stars and the jury, who were surprised by the skill of this “barely” 1.88 meter tall basketball player who recently signed a two-way contract with the Philadelphia 76ers. Due to the characteristics of that link, McClung could allow him to have a rematch in the NBA or also continue defending the colors of the Delaware Blue Coats, the affiliate of that franchise.
The concrete thing is that then came the confirmation that this play had not been a coincidence. McClung, already wearing a black shirt with the legend Gate City (his hometown, in Virginia) and the number 0 on the front, faced the painted area from the right sector and after a turn on his own axis, in the air , turned the ball over, to definitively demolish the forecasts with an impressive 360 °.
Thus, after accepting the invitation to share the bill with Jericho Sims, Trey Murphy and Kenyon Martin Jr., and with three top scores and one near perfect, He took a trophy that was somewhat devalued in the previous one, but which was left with the shares rising after his appearance this Saturday, the day he became the first player to win an All Star Game dunk contest coming from the NBA Development League.
Before this weekend, the young Virginian basketball player barely had a couple of games in the NBA, a league that he had not been able to access through the Draft. He played both games in the 2021-2022 season, one with the Chicago Bulls shirt and the rest with the Los Angeles Lakers.
In that same year he was proclaimed as the G League Rookie of the Year, after reaping an average of 21.6 points, 7.6 assists, 6.6 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 27 games representing the South Bay Lakers and Windy City Bulls.
Now McClung, who in 2022 signed for the Golden State Warriors but was released before the start of the season, will have the chance to wear the number 9 jersey of the Philadelphia 76ers, with the confidence of knowing that he convincingly obtained the tournament-winning trophy. of dunks in the NBA, which he received from the legendary Julius Erving.
Damian Lillard won his first All-Star Game 3-point contest
Damian Lillard, the star of the Portland Trail Blazers, won his first All-Star Game 3-point contest trophy of the NBA. The 32-year-old point guard beat Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton, both of the Indiana Pacers, in the final at the Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City (Utah).
In his third appearance in the contest, Lillard competed wearing a uniform from the university where he was educated, Weber State, located just 60 kilometers from Salt Lake City. “This makes it even more special. I tried it twice before and I’m glad to get it here“, recognized the point guard when picking up the trophy.
“The best shooters in history have one of these and I wanted to win it at least once before I retired,” said Lillard, who is also the first winner of the contest in Blazers history.
Lillard had 26 points in the first round of the contest, in which Tyler Herro (Heat), Kevin Huerter (Kings), Julius Randle (Knicks), Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Lauri Markkanen (Jazz) were eliminated.
In the final, the point guard repeated 26 points again, surpassing with his last triple from the corner the 25 that Buddy Hield got before. Haliburton tried to move past Lillard afterwards but fell to 17 points.
Lillard, who is averaging 31.4 points and 4.2 triples per game this season, and who succeeded Dominican-American center Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves), surprising winner in 2022, as the winner of the triple tournament, will participate on Sunday in his seventh All-Star Game.
In the other contest the skills, the Utah Jazz players prevailed Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler y Collin Sexton.
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), who is due to captain one of the All-Star teams on Sunday, was sidelined as a precaution because of a wrist injury he suffered Thursday.
The Greek was relieved by his Bucks teammate Jrue Holiday, who competed alongside the other two Antetokounmpo brothers: Alex (Wisconsin Herd – G League) and Thanasis (Bucks).