Mac McClung. Dominque Wilkins. Vince Carter. Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan. For all of NBA historical past, these 5 names can be linked in a single very particular method: all 5, together with a number of different gamers starting from legends to journeymen, have been winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. And practically all followers of All-Star Saturday Night would say that for the reason that period when the enduring Hall of Fame gamers competed, the occasion had misplaced fairly a little bit of luster.
Enter McClung. The G League participant with an extended historical past of viral web dunks stole the present with one of many higher dunk contest performances in current historical past. Luminaries akin to Shaquille O’Neal and Magic Johnson are already saying that McClung saved the occasion and maybe his instance might assist spur larger curiosity amongst high-profile gamers.
Of course, other than McClung, we have now no method of understanding who will compete in years to come back. What we do know is who McClung can be becoming a member of within the historical past books. Below is each slam dunk champion within the occasion’s historical past, beginning with Julius Erving within the ABA in 1976 right through to McClung in 2023.
You would possibly discover a few irregularities on that listing. As the competition was initially an ABA invention, it wasn’t adopted in its present format within the NBA till 1985. There was a quick two-year absence within the late Nineteen Nineties, first in 1998, when the NBA tried to switch it with the “WNBA-NBA 2Ball Competition,” after which once more in 1999 when the lockout canceled All-Star Weekend altogether.
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The dunk contest has continued as scheduled ever since, although with its waning recognition in recent times, there was some worry that it may very well be at risk if one thing did not change. Well, McClung is likely to be simply the change this occasion wanted. He created real pleasure round a contest that had grown stale, and it’ll now be simply essentially the most anticipated occasion at All-Star Weekend subsequent season. At that time, he’ll try to turn out to be the primary repeat champion since Nate Robinson in 2009 and 2010. See you in Indianapolis.
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