April 22, 2024

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Osceola Magic’s Mac McClung clinches 2nd straight NBA All-Star slam dunk title

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SLAM DUNK KING. Mac McClung of the Osceola Magic retains his NBA Slam Dunk Contest title at the expense of Jaylen Brown in the All-Star Saturday night at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines, February 18, 2024). NBA PHOTO

Mac McClung soared to a second consecutive NBA Slam Dunk Contest title, defeating the talented Jaylen Brown in a thrilling finale. 

The 6-foot-2 guard, currently playing for the Orlando Magic’s G League affiliate, Osceola Magic, brought a mix of flair and innovation to the competition, leaving the crowd in awe at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines, February 18, 2024).

McClung, known for his high-flying style, added a touch of nostalgia to his performance by having basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal don his high school jersey. The 7-foot-1 Shaq, a four-time NBA champion, played the role of a prop as McClung cleared him with a breathtaking leap, earning five perfect scores from the judges on his final attempt.

The 98.8 points amassed by McClung in his last two dunks secured his back-to-back Slam Dunk titles, making him the sixth player in NBA history with two or more championships in the event. Zach LaVine was the last to achieve such a feat in 2015 and 2016.

Reflecting on the moment, McClung expressed gratitude towards Shaq for participating in the act, saying, “Shaq was so cool to put that high school jersey on, man, it almost made me emotional that he would do that.” The dunk, executed flawlessly on the first try, showcased McClung’s ability to perform under pressure.

When asked about the possibility of a three-peat next year, McClung remained coy, stating, “I don’t know. We’ll think about it. I’m not sure yet.” Regardless of future plans, his impact on the Slam Dunk Contest has been significant, solidifying his status as one of the premier dunkers in the league.

In the 3-point contest, Damian Lillard of the Milwaukee Bucks successfully defended his title with a score of 26 points in the final round. Lillard, known for his deep shooting range, became the eighth player to win at least two 3-point crowns and the first to achieve consecutive victories since Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008.

The night also featured the NBA Skills Challenge, where Indiana Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton showcased his versatility. Haliburton, alongside teammates Myles Turner and Bennedict Mathurin, secured victory for Team Pacers in the team relay and passing competition. Haliburton sealed the win with a tiebreaking half-court shot, providing a fitting conclusion to a night filled with extraordinary skill and entertainment.

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