Ranking Mac McClung’s near-perfect NBA Dunk Contest, from tap-and-go slam to 540 walk-off

Mac McClung, the only G-League player in history to even compete in, let alone win, the NBA Dunk Contest, put on a show for the ages on Saturday night in Salt Lake City, scoring all four attempts on his first try. This is one of the reasons that ruined this competition: the guys make a lot of attempts before finally failing one. McClung was the perfect player, joining Spud Webb as the only player in history 6’2″ or shorter to score three 50s in the same competition.

Below, I’ll list four of McClung’s dunks, starting at the end.

1. Walk

McClung was saving the best for last. Trey Murphy III was hanging around with some pretty impressive pieces of his own, but when McClung dropped that 540, as you could hear from Draymond Green on TNT, it was over.

It’s worth a few more looks.

There are jumpers and there are pilots. McClung is flying. Floats might even be a better description. This dunk is crazy. Some people called it 720, which would mean two full turns, but you can look again and see that it ends halfway through the second turn, like a reverse, and then continues its descent to the end. A completely nasty dunk, and perhaps just as important, again, on the first try. The people stood up and he didn’t let them down. He was awarded 50.

2. Dual clutch reverse

Kenny Smith called it a hesi dunk, but it was more than that. On his third dunk of the night, McClung leveled his head off the hoop as he snatched the ball from his stuntman’s hands and then more or less froze in the air long enough to lift the ball from under his feet. chest, then down again to the waist and up again for the finish.

Indeed, the difficulty of this dunk lies in the hang time. It’s impossible to put into words how long you have to hover at rim level to give yourself time for a full dual clutch. And again he had to bring the ball up to the chest first, before he even started a down-up double clutch. In fact, it’s almost a triple clutch. This is one of those dunks that you have to slow down and really think through the intricacies to really appreciate how difficult it was to pull off.

3. Press and go

Kenny Smith wasn’t sure if McClung tapped on the glass before washing off his first dunk. You can see below what he did. It was crazy to get my first dunk on the first try despite all the hype around McClung in this contest.

McClung passes two guys here, one sitting on the shoulders of the other, which is the equivalent of jumping through a standard door in your house. McClung keeps his head directly above the hoop, holding the ball below his waist. Moving from that spot to a level above his head, banging it on the shield, and performing a flush reverse in one fluid motion was well worth the 50 points he scored.

However, I actually think the next dunk on this list was more difficult, but I prefer this one because, again, it came with all the pressure of it being McClung’s first try. The fit to occasion element is definitely part of this package.

4. Windmill 360

I can’t believe I’m calling this McClung dunk the “worst” one. This jam was so nasty. It wasn’t exactly a full 360-degree view, to be technical; McClung starts his turn before he takes off, as almost everyone who does a 360 does. But for all intents and purposes, it’s a 360 with a windmill abandoned in the middle of a revolution.

There was a time when Dominic Wilkins was a legend just for playing the role of a windmill. And it wasn’t a cheap windmill. It was a complete windmill, and McClung still managed to energize it. It should have been 50.


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