The NBA Dunk Contest is one of the most looked-forward-to events during All-Star Weekend. Although in the past few years, there are arguments that the event has lost its way. More specifically, the scoring from judges, the creativity of the dunks, and the participants. The 2022 NBA Slam Dunk contest was widely criticized throughout the league and on social media. Longtime analyst Stephen A. Smith for ESPN called the 2022 NBA Dunk Contest the “Worst dunk contest in the history of basketball” Moreover, the Dunk Contest viewership has dropped and some argue if it’s really worth watching. The NBA looks to fix that problem by bringing outside help from G League player Mac McClung from the Delaware Bluecoats. McClung will be the first G League player to enter the Dunk Contest.
Stars Don’t Participate Anymore
The Slam Dunk Contest in its history used to have participants who were stars around the league including Shawn Kemp, Clyde Drexler, Dominique Wilkins, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter and even the great Michael Jordan. Although, over the past decade the contest does not see the same star power that it once was. This is not necessarily saying that in that time the dunk contest hasn’t been as great, but as seen last year something needs to change. Some call for players such as Ja Morant or Zion Williamson to participate. Though every NBA fan will be in love with that idea, who knows if that will actually happen. It is great that the league gives other players the opportunity to show off their athleticism and showmanship. As mentioned, the NBA is taking another approach by bringing McClung from the G League who has a long history of dunking.
McClung to the Rescue
McClung has only appeared in two NBA games but was awarded G League’s Rookie of the Year when he played for the South Bay Lakers in 2021. McClung might not be a star, but is a star when it comes to dunking. He is widely known for his electric highlights. In high school, McClung was a human highlight real and a youtube sensation. He has multiple highlight mixtapes from huge organizations such as Ballislife and Overtime.
Ballislife in 2020 ranked McClung as the fourth-best high school dunker of the decade. He ranked higher than past NBA Dunk Contest winners including Zach Lavine (2015, 2016) and Hamidou Diallo (2019). MacClung ranked one spot behind 2020 dunk contest winner Derrick Jones Jr. as well. McClung also won the 2018 Ballislife All-American Slam Dunk Contest.
Last year, McClung performed an emphatic reverse dunk in the Los Angeles Lakers last game of the season in the final seconds of a 146-141 overtime win versus the Denver Nuggets.
In the words of Kenny “The Jet” Smith, expect to hear “It’s over ladies and gentlemen” after McClung’s performance at the contest. Dunking is part of McClung’s identity and his showmanship will bring life back to the Slam Dunk Contest once again
Other Slam Dunk Contest Participants include:
- Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans (NOP)
- Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets
- Shaedon Sharpe, Portland Trailblazers (POR)
The Slam Dunk Contest is scheduled for Saturday, February 18 at 7 p.m. PT.
Stay tuned for more breaking NBA content, including trades, contract updates and more news from every team.
Statistics Courtesy of ESPN, Basketball Reference, BallisLife and NBA
You can “Like” The Game Haus on Facebook and “Follow” us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jake