Move over Joel Embiid, there’s a new Philadelphia 76ers star in town. Just kidding, though if Mac McClung’s All-Star Weekend is a small taste of what’s to come from the new Sixers signing, it will no doubt be a beautiful career.
After wowing crowds at the dunk contest on Saturday, praise rained onto McClung from all corners of the NBA.
He even caught the eye of NBA legend LeBron James, who told reporters on Sunday that McClung will go down as one of the competition’s greats.
“He solidified himself as one of the greatest slam dunk competitors we’ve had in the history of the game,” James said.
James went on to cite Michael Jordan, Vince Carter, and Aaron Gordon as other prominent members of the dunk contest’s elite.
McClung took home dunk contest honors even though he’s spent most of the season in the G-League. In fact, McClung was the first G-League entrant into the dunk contest in the competition’s history.
Steph Curry Chimes in on McClung’s Performance
LeBron wasn’t the only NBA great to heap praise on McClung. Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry took to Twitter to drop his own praise of McClung’s spectacular performance.
“Man was a viral HOH high school dunk phenom, still working his way to the League, but lemme go get that dunk contest trophy right quick and bring it back to life!!! Unreal #macmclung,” Curry tweeted.
McClung, ever humble, responded in kind to Curry for the kind words.
“Appreciate you goat. The dream is the journey,” McClung tweeted in reply.
McClung also impressed in the NBA’s Rising Stars showdown, recording 10 points, two boards, and two assists in nine minutes of work.
At the Rising Stars showcase, McClung faced off against some of the league’s brightest young stars. Reigning Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes and this year’s favorite for the award Paolo Banchero highlight some of the excellent talents McClung dueled.
And McClung was surrounded by no shortage of talent on his own team, made of up G-League players. That includes Scoot Henderson of G-League Ignite, who is predicted to be the No. 2 draft pick this summer behind generational talent Victor Wembanyama.
McClung Responds to Kevin Durant Criticism
Not everyone was thrilled about McClung’s inclusion in the dunk contest, however. Kevin Durant questioned the merits of having a G-Leaguer in the dunk contest at all, implying it’s a bad look for the league.
“Mac McClung, which is crazy that they doing that out the G League,” Durant said on the Etcs w/ KD podcast before the weekend. “No shade, but what’re we doing? And Mac is an outstanding athlete, but what’re we doing?”
McClung responded with nothing but respect for himself and Durant.
“As I get older, the positive and the negative, they affect me either way, I think,” McClung responded. “I always lead with love. I think be more curious than judgmental. Kevin Durant, I’m not gonna feel any way because he said that. I always got love for people who inspire me. It’s no hate from my angle. Sometimes, hate’s gonna go your way, but I’m just gonna be positive and make the most of it.”
Ultimately, McClung’s product on the court spoke for itself.