NBA Slam Dunk Contest Competitors Announced And No One Knows Who Any Of Them Are

The NBA has just announced the four participants for this Saturday's All-Star Slam Dunk Competition, and it's rough:

Yes, that's right. There is someone who isn't even on an official NBA roster who is supposed to represent... the NBA. (He will represent the 76ers as part of their Rising Stars this weekend)

It's a bad sign when you can't find FOUR players throughout the entire NBA that want to participate in the dunk competition of all things.

Even Kevin Durant is wondering what the league is doing.

During an appearance on the ETC Podcast , Durant said, "Mac McClung, which is – that’s crazy they’re doing that. Out of the G League. No shade, but come on, what are we doing? And Mac is an outstanding athlete. But what are we doing? It used to be sacred to be part of All-Star Weekend."

McClung is a rising star who is generating buzz - mainly from YouTube and social media. Some of his dunk videos have millions of views and the NBA is hoping that can generate some sort of interest in this weekend's events. But when you have hardly any name recognition (let's be honest Kenyon Martin we all know because of his dad) then you are looking at a ROUGH night ahead.


Growing up, the Slam Dunk contest was MUST see.

Posters lined kids walls of Michael Jordan literally becoming "Air Jordan" in front of all of us as he soared from the foul line with his tongue out to deliver his iconic dunk.

Vince Carter in 2000, Dwight Howard's "Superman" dunk in 2008.

Hell, Spud Webb single-handedly became a role model for all 5'6" men everywhere. He gave them a confidence they've never felt before after his dominant dunk night in 1986:


Just like everything else these days, the players are using rest and health as excuses for opting out. Sure, some absolutely do need to take these days to give their legs some rest, but you can't tell me that it's not more than that. We are hearing more MLB players use rest as an excuse to not partake in the Home Run Derby, or that they are worried it may affect their swing. However, unlike the NBA, MLB still gets BIG stars like Juan Soto and Pete Alonso participating.

Michael Jordan immortalized the dunk competition. Kobe Bryant participated and won it in his rookie year back in 1997. But you know who never did it - besides being the ONLY player for two full decades that fans were begging to do it? LeBron James.

Once LeBron opted out, many of the rest of the biggest NBA stars followed suit.

You mean to tell me Zion Williamson can do this 360 dunk during a live-action Duke game, but can't perform in this year's competition? (Granted he recently got hurt, but even in the weeks leading up to it his name hasn't even been in consideration)


I honestly think that many athletes today are so calculated, so meticulous in everything they do many of them can't allow their egos to suffer any sort of failure.

Could it be called cowardice? Not wanting to fall short in front of their peers? Not having the guts to take a chance?

The difference between Jordan and today's NBA superstars is that Jordan actually WANTED to show how much better he was than everyone else. He was cutthroat. He relished in knowing and proving to everyone else that he would crush them in the dunk competition.


As sports continues to become "soft," in the sense that we are now using the phrase "workload management" on a daily basis as a straight up excuse for why LeBron and others aren't playing games, the NBA has a problem on its hands.

The workload management concept is having a detrimental impact on the game. It will be interesting to see what happens when the next NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement is up at the end of next year. It is going to be an absolute battle between the league and the players association.

And when you add the fact that you have 4 NBA dunk contestants with barely any name recognition, while the superstars are sitting in expensive clothes and blinged out jewelry on the sidelines, the fans are going to eventually start tuning out.

Written by
Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.