OPINION: D.A.: Where does Mac McClung's dunk contest win rank all-time?

Mac McClung
Photo credit Tim Nwachukwu / Staff / Getty Images

Mac McClung's scintillating performance during the NBA's All-Star weekend in Utah had fans clamoring that he saved the league's slam dunk contest. Where does it rank all-time, though? Here are the five best dunk contests in history.

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No. 5: Mac McClung (2023) The Mac Attack that erupted Saturday caught most people off-guard, and his G-League status camouflages the type of elite skills he possesses. McClung's leaping ability is off the charts, and his power is phenomenal. For sheer athleticism, he's got plenty of it. His windmill dunk, leap over two people, and finale (while wearing his high school uniform) were all stand-out moments. For a league that often lacks starpower in the contest, McClung proved that familiarity doesn't matter. His mixtapes from high school and college are legendary. Now he can add one of the best dunk shows ever.

No. 4: Jason Richardson (2003) As a rookie in 2002, he announced his arrival by stuffing the hoop with ferocity and delivering a dunk contest show. Richardson's full extension on the windmill dunks was elite, but his final slam topped them all. First, he threw a lead pass to himself. And then he snagged it and viciously ripped it behind the back. He was crowned dunk champion in 2003 and 2004, peaking with his final dunk of the competition. Longtime NBA analyst Kenny Smith called it, "the most incredible dunk I've ever seen," at the time. He threw it off the backboard and then went through the legs, with pure power and skill. Wicked.

No. 3: Zach LaVine-Aaron Gordon (2016) Two young, bendy high-flyers took over the skies in 2016. Gordon grabbed the ball from the Orlando Magic mascot while floating with both legs over his head. It was matched by LaVine, who launched from just inside the free throw line. TNT's crew advocated for a tie, since both players were worthy challengers, and the Toronto crowd roared with every dunk. Gordon and LaVine conjured up images of two now-legends, who battled 28 years earlier.

No. 2: Dominique Wilkins-Michael Jordan (1988) We're unlikely to ever have another dunk duel between future Hall of Famers. Two of the NBA's all-time dunkers, matching wits and athleticism in 1988. Seeing the flexibility of Wilkins, along with the soaring of Jordan, will never be topped. The duel was proxy in their battles to become the next great star of the league. Jordan got the benefit of the home crowd scoring, and it was an early nod to his knack of owning the biggest stages. Most people believe that Wilkins was robbed, which lends to the mystique of the event.

No. 1: Vince Carter (2000) The barometer by which all dunk contests are now measured. By 2000, there were gripes that the slam dunk competition was tired. The novelty of the 1980s had worn off, and the stars of the 1990s had largely ignored competing. But, that night in Oakland, nobody will ever forget Vinsanity. As far as one-man shows in skills competition go, this may be the best in any sport. Display it in a museum with Mark McGwire's home run derby in 1999, and Larry Bird's three-point contest. From running under the basket and twirling around with a windmill, to grabbing the bounce pass and going through the legs. When Carter called it over, he did it for all-time. And now, 23 years later, it's still unmatched.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Tim Nwachukwu / Staff / Getty Images