Following his sophomore season at Michigan, which culminated in that technical foul and the resulting loss of a second straight NCAA title game, Webber was taken No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic at the 1993 NBA draft. The trade moments later sent his rights to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Anfernee Hardaway’s rights and three future first-round picks.
Regardless, Webber had landed in a decent spot, playing for the headstrong Don Nelson, who had won Coach of the Year honors just two years prior, on a team that featured Tim Hardaway, Chris Mullin, Latrell Sprewell, and Billy Owens.
So, when the defending Western Conference champion Phoenix Suns and reigning NBA MVP Charles Barkley came to Oakland on Nov. 16, 1993, it was a big deal, especially for Webber, who counted Sir Charles among his role models growing up.
“That was my first game playing against Barkley,” Webber said during an NBA on TNT segment recounting the night’s events years later. “I met Barkley in high school, and Barkley was by far my favorite player. My friends were in town from Oakland for that game. Everybody came up, and they knew how much I loved Barkley.”
But when Webber corralled a Sprewell outlet pass along the left sideline and caught Barkley chasing on the break out of the corner of his eye, he saw Sir Charles less as an idol and more as an opportunity to unleash his limitless talent. He took one dribble, circled the ball around his back and dunked on Barkley’s head, drawing the foul and completing a three-point play.
When I saw him coming, I didn’t think he should jump,” a smiling Webber told Ahmad Rashad on “NBA Inside Stuff” at the time. “I don’t really think you should on a guy who has an advantage on you, and I can jump pretty high and I’m taller, so I didn’t think he was going to jump. He jumped, and I got him, but I’m sure someone will get me someday, so I don’t want to make too much of a big deal out of it.”
The celebratory arm raise pretty much puts the dunk in one phrase: Yeah, that just happened.