The Submit’s Steve Serby chatted with freshly topped NBA Slam Dunk Champion Mac McClung of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Q: What’s the craziest factor you’ve skilled this week?

A: Simply I feel individuals ready exterior my residence and kinda determining the place I stay, and like asking for autographs. . . after I bought off the flight, individuals who weren’t even within the airport have been ready… it was identical to how’d they know what time I used to be getting in? It was simply insane. And all of the love has been nice, however it has been a little bit loopy at occasions.

Q: So how would you describe proper now what it’s like being Mac McClung?

A: I might simply say there’s only a lot occurring, and I’m making an attempt to essentially be current and profit from it, however the whole lot’s sort of actually sped up and a blur proper now however my foremost focus is on hoops, so a man actually that will get to play the sport he loves on daily basis.

Q: Zion Williamson has stated he might determine to problem you in subsequent yr’s NBA Slam Dunk contest.

A: I might love that. I feel he’s an incredible dunker and wonderful participant, I feel it could construct up the fan base, and it could simply be a good time.

Q: Do you take pleasure in being a showman, getting the followers out of their seats and going nuts?

Mac McClung was the one participant to file an ideal rating within the Dunk Contest — including three of them.
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A: I do. I like the sport, however I feel it simply occurs throughout the recreation after I’m taking part in my recreation.

Q: Have you ever all the time been like a ham?

A: I’ve all the time beloved to be energetic out on the courtroom, and have a little bit flash to my recreation.

Q: You may dunk on any participant in NBA historical past.

A: Most likely Yao Ming, that will be the best one — 7-6, that’d been dope. 

Q: Who have been your favourite dunkers rising up?

A: I might say Vince Carter was the one which in all probability involves thoughts. I beloved Dominique (Wilkins) and the way he would identical to. . .his energy. And clearly, all of us beloved Michael Jordan.

Q: What drives you?

A: I feel actually simply proving myself proper, and actually God. I really feel like I used to be placed on this earth to do a sure factor, and actually simply be one of the best model of myself. I actually don’t need to ever look again and be like, “Oh, I didn’t give each little ounce to be one of the best I may very well be.” I feel that in all probability drives me probably the most.

Q: Why do you consider you can also make an affect someday within the NBA?

A: I want I can clarify it, however I’ve all the time simply believed. I do have doubts like everybody else, however my preparation and my onerous work actually takes away these doubts to provide me much more perception, however simply one thing in my core because the day I used to be born was like I do know I’m made for these moments.

Q: Out of your Instagram from 2017: “I’m gonna shock the world.”

A: Man, that simply reveals ya I had loads of confidence (snicker) from a really younger age. I don’t know if I might say one thing like that as my older self (he’s 24), however that’s simply how I felt within the second, and that was proper at the beginning kinda went loopy in my life the primary time in highschool. . .I felt sort of just like the underdog, and I used to be about to point out everyone what I can do on the courtroom, and the affect I could make. Yeah, that was simply kinda the goal of it.

Mac McClung #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers celebrates with the trophy after winning the 2023 NBA All Star AT&T Slam Dunk Contest
McClung instructed The Submit’s Steve Serby he’s all the time believed in himself.
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Q: Who’re a few of your favourite underdogs?

A: My first favourite underdog was Spider-Man (snicker), I do know that’s a film, however I like Spider-Man. In actual life, I like Allen Iverson, I take into account him an underdog. I can’t actually examine anyone’s story to mine. You all the time suppose your story’s the toughest and probably the most tough, so it’s kinda onerous to match or kinda suppose that approach.

Q: You have been undrafted, proper?

A: I’ve been an underdog my entire life.

Q: Does that put a chip in your shoulder?

A: I feel it used to. I feel now I’m simply extra fearful about taking part in the sport the appropriate approach and loving the sport. I feel as I become old it’s totally different, however it’s virtually anticipated now. When one thing occurs, it’s like yup, like I get it, prefer it’s coming, I understand how that’s how they’re gonna really feel or that’s what they’re gonna say. It’s virtually anticipated at this level.

Q: An Instagram publish 5 years in the past: “Once I make you see the imaginative and prescient, don’t act such as you seen it from the start.”

A: (Snigger) I feel that in all probability is an underdog quote. Each step of the best way I used to be instructed I couldn’t. . .at first, I couldn’t play Division I. After which I couldn’t play excessive main. After which I couldn’t begin – they have been like, “Oh you’re not gonna truly get admitted to the excessive main,” and it was like, “Oh, you’re not gonna be on a superb group, oh, you’re not gonna play within the NBA.” So it’s identical to each time after I make you see the imaginative and prescient, don’t act such as you noticed it from the start. I forgot (snicker) I put that on my Instagram, however I’m glad you introduced that up.

Mac McClung, of the Philadelphia 76ers, competes during the Slam Dunk Contest
McClung remains to be getting used to his newfound fame.
AFP by way of Getty Photos

Q: The place does that perception in your self come from?

A: I actually want I can clarify it, simply from a youngin’ I used to be competing with everyone, like my dad, my mother, my sister, like I simply wished to win so unhealthy. While you work so onerous at one thing, you’re feeling you virtually deserve it, so it kinda takes away that nervousness or that concern.

Q: Yet another from Instagram 5 years in the past: “No one makes it from my ends, I’m about to bust up the silence.”

A: (Snigger) That’s a Drake music! No one’s actually ever made it out of my metropolis. My hometown’s a very small hometown (Gate Metropolis, Va.), and I used to be simply saying like I’m gonna be the one which made it sort of. That is actually (snicker) giving me some cringe moments excited about my Instagram posts, however I used to be a younger child stuffed with lots of confidence. It‘s an enormous assist to me simply having that perception in myself.

Q: If you happen to needed to publish an Instagram proper now that sums up your life.

A: Oh man, you’re placing the stress (snicker). It will be one thing about gratitude, grateful for my circle, grateful for my household and everybody who’s helped me on this journey, but in addition can be saying one thing about how one of the best is but to return,  and I’m much more hungry than I used to be the evening earlier than.

Q: What have been these two NBA video games you’ve performed in like for you?

A: I simply wished extra. I simply wished extra expertise, I wished extra of it. It’s like one thing you get hooked on. It’s one thing that all of us dream about which can be taking part in within the G League in the mean time, so I’m excited, man, I like this recreation a lot and may’t await that chance.

Q: What has been the largest adversity or impediment you’ve needed to overcome?

A: Simply studying endurance. It’s like, “Oh, you could do that, you could do that.” Loads of it’s God’s timing and endurance and letting it work out and ready your flip. A clever individual, certainly one of my previous coaches instructed me like, “Simply wait your flip, and be prepared when it’s your flip.”

Mac McClung #0 of the Delaware Blue Coats poses for a portrait during G League media day on November 1, 2021 at Chase Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware.
The 24-year-old at present performs for the Delaware Blue Coats.
Alex Nahorniak-Svenski/NBAE by way of Getty Photos

Q: The criticism you felt was both most unfair or bothered you most.

A: Criticism doesn’t actually hassle me, generally it confuses me. However I’m actually huge in main with love, like the whole lot I do is with love. If there’s somebody that claims one thing unhealthy, I nonetheless love you, it’s not private. Being curious and never judgmental is the best way I give it some thought, and generally when individuals ask that, possibly they’re coping with one thing, or possibly they’re going by means of one thing in the mean time. So I by no means actually take it an excessive amount of ‘trigger I do know who I’m as an individual.

Q: What’s your on-court mentality?

A: Only a man who loves the sport, likes to compete and likes to win, and is having enjoyable on the market, simply taking part in with pleasure.

Q: You may go 1-on-1 with any participant in NBA historical past. Who would it not be?

A: Kobe Bryant.

Mac McClung #9 of Team Jason shoots during the Jordan Rising Stars Game as part of 2023 NBA All Star Weekend
McClung additionally bought a flip within the Jordan Rising Stars Recreation as a part of the 2023 NBA All-Star Weekend.
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Q: You don’t have the Mamba Mentality, right?

A: No, no person does, solely he has the Mamba Mentality. I’ve the Mac Mentality, and LeBron has the LeBron mentality. Everyone has their very own mentality.

Q: Why are you greater than a dunker?

A: I’ve dunked not that a lot this yr (snicker), you already know what I imply? My numbers have been spectacular, our (G League) group (Delaware Blue Coats) has been spectacular, and I feel in the event you’re actually watching me that query is kinda pale, and I actually don’t put an excessive amount of effort in making an attempt to clarify why I’m not. . . It’s not one thing I’m making an attempt to show to anyone.

Q: A scouting report on Mac McClung.

A: An aggressive competitor. . . can shoot, can get others concerned, can assist groups win. . . will be scrappy at occasions, and general, only a winner.

Q: Taking part in for Georgetown in opposition to St. John’s on the Backyard.

A: Man, that was additionally a recreation after I used to be identical to, “Wow, what an expertise.” That’s my favourite courtroom to play on, it truly is. It feels magical on the market. That was a lot enjoyable. I’ll always remember that reminiscence.

Q: How a lot trash discuss have you ever encountered?

A: I feel there’s one thing about me that kinda brings the sting on individuals, they usually’re additional locked in these days. However as I become old, it nonetheless occurs, however much less. Positively in school, positively in highschool, however within the G League it’s bizarre as a result of all of us are actually preventing to do the identical factor. Clearly you’re making an attempt to win and beat the opposite group however it’s like, “That individual’s making an attempt to make it too.” They understand that we’re all sort of – I wouldn’t say on this collectively –  however we’re all looking out for a similar dream.

Q: Do you discuss trash?

A: I imply if somebody talks to me, I’m positively gonna discuss again and never again down, however my expressions are often identical to yo myself, if I’m screaming or speaking, it’s like kinda to pump myself up.

Mac McClung, of the Philadelphia 76ers (C), reacts after competing during the Slam Dunk Contest
Mac McClung reacts after competing throughout the Slam Dunk Contest.
AFP by way of Getty Photos

Q: Do you watch clips of old-time NBA gamers?

A: I had a coach with the South Bay Lakers who actually made a huge impact on my profession, and we’d watch movie on a regular basis of like Tony Parker, and CP’s (Chris Paul’s) youthful days. . . Steve Nash. . . it’s simply certainly one of my favourite issues to do in my off time.

Q: Why did you de-commit from Rutgers?

A: I went on a go to, and I respect [head coach] Steve Pikiell so much, he’s doing an excellent job, however it simply wasn’t a match, I simply bought one thing in my intestine, like I used to be like, “I don’t really feel like that is the place I’m purported to go.” It was actually only a intestine feeling, and Patrick Ewing confirmed up at my home the subsequent day after which we went from there.

Q: Why are you so pleased with your hometown?

A: It kinda provides to the underdog story, however it additionally made me who I’m as an individual. In my hometown, like how a lot cash you will have, or what job you will have just isn’t crucial. It’s the way you deal with individuals, and your group, and household and friendships, and that sort of taught me the bottom of that earlier than I bought into the large cities, the place individuals actually care about what garments they’re sporting or what automobile they’re driving. My hometown actually constructed me on the appropriate basis I felt like, and that’s why I simply love the place I’m from a lot.

Mac McClung #0 of the Delaware Blue Coats looks on prior to a game against the Long Island Nets on January 21, 2023 at Chase Fieldhouse in
Mac McClung seems on previous to a Delaware Blue Coats recreation in January 2023.
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Q: What’s your favourite tattoo?

A: I might say the quantity 22 I’ve on my wrist. Proper earlier than I turned 23 I kinda modified so much on my lifetime of who I used to be. It was simply to remind me the expansion as an individual kinda off the courtroom, simply who I used to be and my relationships with individuals. I began studying so much and have become a greater individual, I really feel like.

Q: Properly, who have been you, and who’re you, what’s the main distinction?

A: I actually began to work on myself and discovered to like myself. I do know that’s actually in all probability deep, however there’s occasions in life like you will have huge modifications, and that was certainly one of ‘em.

Q: Soccer was your past love.

A: I performed soccer till eighth grade.

Q: What place?

A: I performed quarterback and broad receiver.

Q: Who we’re a few of your favourite gamers?

A: I beloved Devin Hester and Michael Vick.

Q: Which group did you root for?

A: Paradoxically the Eagles, I beloved Terrell Owens too. 

Q: Your favourite pre-draft cheesesteak.

A: Angelo’s.

Q: 5 dinner visitors.

A: Kobe Bryant, Daniel Poneman, Danny Cooper, Adam Sandler, Taylor Swift.

Mac McClung #9 of the Philadelphia 76ers rings the bell before playing against the Memphis Grizzlies
Mac McClung rings the bell earlier than the 76ers performed in opposition to the Memphis Grizzlies.
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Q: Favourite film.

A: The Pocket book.

Q: Favourite actor.

A: Adam Sandler. 

Q: Favourite singer/rapper/entertainer.

A: Harry Kinds.

Q: Favourite meal.

A: Buffalo hen cheesesteak.

Q: You get that at Angelo’s?

A: I get it at Jersey Mike’s.

Q: Your profession objectives.

A: To be the easiest participant I will be and be an impactful participant, and assist a group win a championship.

Mac McClung #0 of the Texas Tech Red Raiders lays up a basket
McClung performed his school ball at Texas Tech.
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Q: What would you inform NBA GMs about Mac McClung and why they need to offer you an opportunity?

A: ‘Trigger I’m a winner, I might say, that’s No. 1. I’m a competitor. I’ll do no matter it takes to assist a group. I consider I’ve the skillset and the sort to be a superb locker room man and a superb teammate, and assist no matter group it’s develop to their full potential.

Q: What message would you need to give to your hundreds upon hundreds of followers about what they need to count on from Mac McClung sooner or later?

A: I don’t suppose something’s gonna change my approach, I’m simply gonna preserve grinding and staying the course and actually having fun with myself every day, and no matter occurs occurs. However I’m gonna preserve working each single day to be one of the best model of myself.

Q: So this week is not going to change you.

A: No. Nothing will change me.