Headlining the NBA All Star weekend was Mac McClung’s performance in the dunk contest. McClung scored a perfect score on 3 of his 4 dunks. McClung is no stranger to highlights – he’s been showcasing his dunking potential for years from his high school to college years at Georgetown and Texas Tech.
Mac McClung is a G-League player that was signed to a 10 day contract by the 76ers in order to compete in the dunk contest over the All Star Weekend. McClung has a career earnings value of 106k. Over All-Star weekend McClung netted himself 100k with a few dunks.
Part of the reason everyone was so intrigued by the McClung story was that the event meant so much to him and his career – it helped drive the storyline for the contest. The issue is – the contest was too much of an exhibition.
The Issue with the Dunk Contest
The issue with the duke contest is that none of the big time dunking All Stars actually want to participate in the event. The subject of this idea this season was Ja Morant, who posted on Twitter that if he got “1 billion likes” on a tweet he would participate in the contest. Such a feat on Twitter is never happening and it’s clear players are not interested in participating in the event.
Participating in – and winning– the dunk contest used to be a right of passage for the greatest players of all time. For those who can’t recall, even Kobe Bryant won the contest in his prime years.
LeBron James was truly the first of the stars in the NBA to dissuade players from participating in the event, citing the uselessness of winning a dunk contest. While LeBron is correct, the contest is a specific accolade that all star players used to covet, but the event has been stale for years.
How To Incentivize the Dunk Contest
There needs to be a way to incentivize the NBA All Star players to participate in the dunk contest. Winning the event used to be a right of passage in many respects for the top players in the game. I don’t believe the NBA needs to raise the prize money, as the star players in the league truly don’t seem to care about extra cash.
What I do believe, however, is that the players would compete for the right to release a limited shoe line depending on who won the contest. Such an award would make the event more lucrative for star players to participate in, and would offer an award that is not cash.
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