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This year’s NBA All-Star slam dunk contest was one for the books, highlighting the talent of an unexpected crop of players.


Source: PATRICK T. FALLON / Getty

Casual NBA fans were likely unaware of Mac McClung, who had only two games of NBA experience under his belt during short stints with the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls. Now, his name is being praised all over the internet after his unexpected victory at this weekend’s slam dunk contest.

Earlier this week, McClung was signed to a two-way contract by the Philadelphia 76ers, going on to dominate Saturday’s dunk contest with about as close to a perfect performance as one could get.

“It kind of feels, ever since the beginning, I was the underdog,” McClung said, according to ESPN. “Just proving yourself right, not others wrong, it brings a little more satisfaction.”

Three of Mac’s four dunks earned him straight 50s by the panel of judges, all of which he completed on his first attempt. The dunks–which were made even more impressive by the fact that McClung is 6’2”–all generated a huge buzz among the Vivint Arena crowd with every completion.

McClung first gained an online following in high school thanks to YouTube compilations of his dunks, which seemed otherworldly for a player of his stature. Despite his size, McClung has said that watching the classic showdown between Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon in the 2016 dunk contest made him dream about being a part of it someday.

Now, he’s become victorious in not only competing in the dunk contest, but winning over Trey Murphy III of the New Orleans Pelicans, Jericho Sims of the New York Knicks and Kenyon Martin Jr. of the Houston Rockets.

On social media, NBA fans were delighted by McClung’s victory, instantly cracking jokes about just how popular the 24-year-old is going to be at all of the parties this NBA All-Star Weekend. Check out some of the reactions to his victory down below:


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