Mac McClung went from the NBA D-League to stealing the NBA Dunk Contest

SALT LAKE CITY — When it first leaked Mac McClung was in the Dunk Contest, the reaction from casual basketball fans and plenty of people on talk shows was, “who? and “Why are they putting a G-Leaguer in the biggest show on Saturday night?”

Here’s why.

Mac McClung isn’t just the 2023 Slam Dunk Contest champion — although he is that too, he rocked the building and left NBA All-Stars courtside slack-jawed. More than that, he’s the underdog story of the guy who could, the guy from Gate City, Virginia (a town of 2,034) who believed in himself and put in the work, and when he finally got his chance he grabbed it with both hands — while repping his Gate City High School jersey.

“It just kind of feels ever since the beginning I was the underdog, even when I was younger,” McClung said. “But just like I was saying, kind of just proving yourself right and not others wrong is kind of more brings a little more satisfaction. So I just kind of looked at it that way.”

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