Sports Journalism Blog

By Kondwani Mzumara | @kondwamz

Sports Capital Journalism Program

INDIANAPOLIS –Mac McClung of the Osceola Magic took home the 2024 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk trophy for the second year in a row Saturday during All-Star Saturday Night at Lucas Oil Stadium. McClung earned a perfect score of 50 for his second dunk during the final round. It was a reverse dunk over Shaquille O’Neal who assisted by holding a basketball behind his head. O’Neal wore a McClung Gate City High School jersey, the high school that McClung attended.

“When he put it on, he said, ‘You better not miss it.’ And I was like, ‘All right, I won’t miss it,’” McClung said.

McClung’s winning night had him finishing with a final score of 98.8 from the five judges on his last two dunks. The judges of the contest were Darnell Hillman, Fred Jones, Gary Payton, Mitch Richmond and Dominique Wilkins. Boston Celtics forward Jaylen Brown had a score of 97.8 in the final.

McClung, a 6-foot-2 guard from the G League, was the first to win consecutive dunk contests since Zach LaVine in 2015 and 2016.

New York Knicks forward Jacob Toppin and Miami Heat forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. were also in the contest.

O’Neal also made an earlier appearance in the competition, assisting Jaquez, who jumped over O’Neal. Jaquez scored a 47.4 after the dunk attempt.

Toppin, whose brother Obi Toppin won the Slam Dunk Contest in 2022, earned a score of 47.8 on a reverse dunk which had Obi Toppin holding a basketball over his head to assist with Jacob Toppin’s reverse dunk.

McClung had a creative dunk in the first round by grabbing the ball from the hand of an assistant who stood near the rim. While going up in the air, McClung grabbed the ball and then proceeded to release the ball for a moment in the air. He then quickly grabbed it with both hands for a reverse dunk. McClung earned a score of 48.0 from the judges for this dunk.

McClung earned a 49.4 on a reverse dunk windmill for his final dunk in the first round. In the second round McClung also earned a 48.8 by attempting a windmill dunk over two people.

Brown, who qualified for the final round, started in the first round with a windmill dunk that earned him a 48.8 from the judges. Brown’s second dunk was a dunk over YouTuber Kai Cenat, while Brown’s Celtic teammate Jayson Tatum threw the ball up to Brown while he dunked it in. He earned a score of 47.6 for that dunk, which helped him secure his spot in the final round over Jaquez.

In the second round for Brown’s final dunk he wore a glove on his left hand while dunking it in grabbing the ball from Donovan Mitchell. Brown earned a 49.2 for this dunk.

“Today was fun,” Brown said. “Regardless of the result, I feel like I was close, but it was fun nonetheless to get out there and have some fun, have some of my friends come out there. I thought we had a good time.”

McClung has not ruled out returning next year for a third-straight slam dunk title. If McClung wins his third in a row, he’d be the first to do so and would tie Nate Robinson (who won his third dunk contest in 2010) for the most wins all-time in the contest.