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February 21, 2023

Mac McClung's dunk contest win brought positive vibes to the Philly sports scene

With his high-flying all-time performance in the dunk contest, Mac McClung gets the award of "Who won the week in Philly sports."

Are you still reeling from the Super Bowl? Are you dejected from the Flyers continuing to rot in mediocrity? Have you resigned yourself to the fate of another Sixers second round exit? Is it too chilly outside for you to be all in on baseball? 

All of those feelings are valid. There's a fog hanging over this city, as seasons of promise and fun resulted in three championship losses in a 99-day period for the Eagles, Phillies and Union. 

At least there's Mac McClung, right?

McClung, the G-League player who the Sixers signed from the Delaware Blue Coats and has yet to play a second for them, represented the team in the NBA's dunk contest over All-Star Weekend. He turned in the best performance fans have seen from the event in years, winning the whole competition. 

Look at these dunks:

What I love about this is that McClung nailed all his dunks on the first try. Watching a guy take three or four chances to make a dunk we already know is coming is boring and sucks the fun out of it, the improbability of watching someone fly through the air in defiance of physics that makes basketball so exciting. 

Now, does McClung winning have any tangible effect on this Sixers season? No. He's on the team's roster, but I doubt Doc Rivers is dying to throw a 6'2" 23-year-old shooting guard out there for a random February regular season game, let alone the playoffs. 

I feel drained on basketball a bit after investing so much professionally and personally into the Process era of the team only for things to stall out and the thought Sixers championship parade down Broad Street dwindling by the season. 

Sometimes, you just need to just enjoy yourself and I haven't totally been able to do that with the Sixers in so, so long. There were no stakes. There was no referendum on the last 10 years of Sixers basketball at play. It was just a guy who's spent the season playing in Delaware channeling the energy of Zach LaVine, Vince Carter and the great dunkers of my lifetime. 

There's a purity there. It's not about the standings. It's not about the narrative. It's about the beauty of basketball being on display free from the weight of a stress-inducing postseason run. 

Perhaps it's my age and the history of the Sixers in the dunk contest. Andre Iguodala was egregiously robbed in the 2006 dunk contest against Nate Robinson. This was a win that put the Sixers in the limelight for a positive reason. That doesn't happen quite often in this city. 

So, for this edition of "Who won the week in Philly sports," I'm going with McClung.

Air Mac. 

Who Won the Week 2023 Tally:

Mac McClung: 1

Haason Reddick: 1

Kenny Gainwell: 1

James Harden: 1

DeVonta Smith: 1

Joel Embiid: 1

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