There’s a great potential reward for a documentary series when someone it’s already covering suddenly hits much wider prominence. The latest example of that comes in the NBA G League’s The Break Presented By The General, the all-access docuseries that’s spotlighted various top G League players so far. Their latest episode revisits Mac McClung, who’s now come to much greater prominence thanks to winning the NBA’s All-Star Weekend’s Slam Dunk Contest, and has plenty of behind-the-scenes footage on what that weekend was like for him.
The Break‘s second episode overall back in December was on McClung. At that point, he was a Delaware Blue Coats player solidly known to those who follow the G League (following most of two seasons there with the South Bay Lakers, plus NBA tryouts with the Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, and Philadelphia 76ers). His spectacular dunks despite his listed height of 6’2” also got him on the radar for some knowledgeable basketball fans. But he wasn’t as much on the radar for the wider basketball world.
That all changed with McClung’s Slam Dunk Contest win, which drew notice from everyone from NBA stars to his own uncle, former MLB pitcher Seth McClung. He was the first current G League player to participate in that contest, and he stole the show. And The Break was smartly in position to capitalize on that. Their sixth episode, released Wednesday, is a behind-the-scenes look at McClung’s All-Star Weekend, and it stands out for having a lot of access (and using it well) in the lead-up to that contest. Here’s a trailer:
Mac McClung is now a household name. Go behind-the-scenes with Mac's friends and family as he crashed the #NBAAllStar scene with a jaw-dropping performance in #ATTSlamDunk in the latest episode of The Break presented by @TheGeneralAuto.
?: https://t.co/BzUIQbMj5j pic.twitter.com/h7SIrzYhpV
— NBA G League (@nbagleague) March 8, 2023
And here’s the full episode:
Almost the full first half of that full 19-minute episode (a still from it showing McClung looking out his hotel window is seen at top) is all about the lead-up to the dunk contest, and there are lots of notable things there. That includes a missed in-game dunk in the Rising Stars game (5:23), the on-broadcast discussion of him in the dunk contest with “Listen, I think he’s going to put on a show,” and then McClung’s post-game discussion of “I’m going to get an ice bag, recover, recover up, get some good sleep tonight, and then have some fun tomorrow.” And he sure did that.
Part of what stands out about The Break‘s coverage in particular is the detailed pre-event interview (6:50) with Bradley Dean, McClung’s friend and high school teammate, who missed a game with his current college team (the DII Virginia-Wise Cavaliers) to be one of the guys McClung jumped over (and the guy he got the ball from) in the contest. There’s also a pre-event interview with McClung’s agent Dan Ponerman (7:30). And then there’s footage of McClung walking out for the contest. And then there’s a smart use of footage from the event’s Shaq Cam, featuring TNT’s Shaquille O’Neal (who happens to be a long-time The General endorser, fitting given that insurance brand’s sponsorship of this series, and also happens to be the narrator of The Break) talking to McClung before the event and reacting to how he does in it:
"This is where you steal the show. Nobody knows your name, make them remember your name." Shaq's advice for Mac McClung is part of a behind-the-scenes Dunk Contest look captured in the latest episode of @nbagleague series "The Break," presented by The General. pic.twitter.com/qWyCnbAMlY
— Awful Announcing (@awfulannouncing) March 8, 2023
McClung certainly did make people remember his name. And The Break did a nice job of presenting all that went on before and after that, and of using the connections they’d already built with McClung and his team through that earlier episode to provide some extra insight into how his All-Star Weekend went. And this is a further indication of some of the value for the G League (and for The General) in an all-access series like The Break, which G League head of partnerships George Wilson spoke to AA on in December:
“The docuseries was a perfect fit for the G League as it provides our fans a window into the lives of our players as they seek to achieve their ultimate goal of making it to the NBA. This league is filled with such tremendous and growing talent—fans may not even know that almost half of NBA players on opening day rosters have played in the G League. The attention surrounding our players continues to grow season after season, and this docuseries really allows our fans to build a deeper connection with those featured players and teams as well as the G League as a whole.”
With this episode in particular, there’s certainly an opportunity for fans to build a deeper connection with McClung. And it’s cool to see a behind-the-scenes look at what this weekend was like for him.
[The Break on YouTube]