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 let alone win the NBA dunk contest, put on a show to last in Salt Lake City Saturday night, nailing all four tries on the first try . That’s one of the things that ruined this competition: guys who brick a bunch of tries before finally laying one down. McClung was perfect, joining Spud Webb as the only player in history who was 6-foot-2 or smaller to card three 50s in a single contest.

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

1. The walk off

McClung saved his best for last. Trey Murphy III was hanging around with some pretty impressive stuff of his own, but when McClung threw down that 540, as Draymond Green could tell on the TNT show, it was closure.

That’s worth a few more looks.

These are jumpers and there are flyers. McClung flies. Swimmers might even be a more accurate description. This dunk is a jaw drop. Some people called it 720, which would be two full revolutions, but you can watch again and see that it finishes halfway through the second turn, in reverse, and then continues all the way on its descent. An absolutely wicked dunk, and perhaps just as importantly, again, it was on the first try. People stood up and he didn’t let them down. He was rewarded with 50.

2. The dual clutch reverse gear

Kenny Smith called it a “Hesi” dunk, but it was more than that. On his third dunk of the night, McClung’s head came level with the rim as he took the ball out of his stuntman’s hands, and then froze more or less less in the air long enough to get the ball between his legs, up his chest, then back up to his waist and back again for the goal.

In fact, the difficulty of this dunk lies in the hangtime. It’s hard to put into words how long you have to hover at rim height to make time for a full dual clutch. And again, he had to get the ball to his chest first before even beginning the bottom-up double clutch. It’s actually almost a triple clutch. This is one of those dunks where you have to slow down and really think about the subtleties to really understand how difficult it was to pull off.

3. Type and go

Kenny Smith wasn’t sure McClung had tapped the glass before his first dunk. You will see below that he did. It was crazy pulling off that as your first dunk on your first try with all the hype surrounding McClung in this competition.

McClung walks over two guys here, one sitting on the other’s shoulders, which is like jumping over a standard door in your house. McClung has his head right there with the rim while keeping the ball below his waist. Going from there to over his head, knocking it off the backboard and throwing a flush reverse in one smooth motion was well deserved for the 50 he scored.

Still, I think the next dunk on this list was more difficult, but I’ll give this one an edge because again, it came with all the pressure that it was McClung’s first attempt. The “fit for the occasion” element is definitely part of this package.

4. The 360 ​​windmill

I can’t believe I’m calling this McClung’s “worst” dunk. This jam was so disgusting. It wasn’t quite a full 360 if you want to be technical; McClung starts his turn before he takes off like almost everyone who does a 360 does. But by all accounts this is a 360 with a windmill thrown in the middle of the revolution.

There was a time when Dominque Wilkins was a legend just for playing the windmill part. And this was no cheap windmill. This was a full windmill, and McClung still managed to flush it with electricity. That should have been a 50.