Mac McClung enjoyed a full week.
The 24-year-old guard – once a teenage YouTuber who now plays in the G-League, the NBA’s official minor league – signed a contract with the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.
On Saturday, McClung capped a fairytale few days by winning the NBA’s annual slam dunk contest — despite not actually being an NBA player.
He signed a sponsorship deal with Puma after inking a two-way deal with the Sixers, allowing him to sign with an NBA franchise and continue playing for its G-League affiliate.
Being the first G-League player to take part in the Slam Dunk Contest had already caused a stir. Phoenix Suns superstar Kevin Durant — a 13-time NBA All-Star — called the move “crazy.”
But after producing three scintillating dunks to victory, NBA greats Shaq O’Neal and Magic Johnson said McClung “saved” a competition that had lost its luster in recent years.
“From the start, I was the underdog,” said McClung, who has emulated Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant by becoming the slam dunk contest champion.
“Proving others right instead of proving others wrong brings a little more satisfaction.”
McClung hit perfect 50s on three of his four dunks — including a 540-degree turn more likely produced by skateboarders and jumping like a gymnast from two of his friends before diving backwards.
McClung has quite enjoyed the journey as a basketball player.
Fans may have first heard his name — and seen his athleticism — through the countless YouTube videos showcasing his talent that have garnered over a million views.
Prior to that, he set records as a star player at Gate City High School and became the all-time leading scorer in Virginia High School League history.
Touted as “the most exciting player in high school” in a YouTube video, he has yet to make the move to the NBA on a regular basis.
McClung, who stands 6ft 2in and relies on his explosive quill for his incredible dunking skills, has been on the books for the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
But he’s only played twice in the NBA, for the Bulls in December 2021 and then for the Lakers in their season finale in April 2022.
Now the 2021-22 NBA G-League Rookie of the Year is hoping for a regular spot in the Sixers roster.
“It’s definitely been a busy week planning all the dunks and also getting called up,” said McClung opposite the US sports broadcaster Stadium.
“It’s funny how things really happen when you least expect it, but it’s all been a blessing.”