Kevin Calabro said it, and it stuck ever since. During his second season with the SuperSonics, after a big enough pattern of monster throwdowns, Shawn Kemp became Reign Man. According to Shawn himself, that was the ultimate form of validation for a 21-year-old rising star.
Those things build confidence. When they give you a nickname when you’re a young guy like that, you feel invincible, you feel like Superman.Shawn Kemp, 1-on-1 with Basketball Network
Well, he definitely flew through the air like Superman, becoming one of the greatest dunkers the NBA has ever witnessed, justifying the nickname given to him by Seattle’s broadcasting legend. But which one of those flying ventures were his favorites? Here’s the five from the Reign Man himself.
Kemp dunks on Chris Gatling
Not a lot of guys show admiration after getting dunked on. In fact, this was the only time it happened to Kemp. But that’s exactly what Chris Gatling did after Shawn threw one down in his face.
Looking back on it, I bet he wishes he hadn’t jumped and contested Kemp’s dunk attempt. But once the hell broke loose, Gatling had no trouble giving respect where respect was due.
Double-pump reverse at MSG
This one is Kemp’s favorite because it was the first time he pulled it off in-game and because it had happened in the Mecca of basketball. But no one was on the receiving end of this one. It was a simple one-dribble, off two feet, double-pump reverse, with no one challenging him mid-air. “Simple.”
Kemp posterizes Dikembe Mutombo
‘No, No, No.’ Kemp was like, ‘yes, yes, yes’ after he threw it down all over 7-2 Mutombo. Thus he joined a very short list of players who were able to dunk over the defensive force that was Dikembe. But I bet you that none of those was as ferocious as Kemp’s one-hand throwdown.
The Lister Blister
Among all the amazing dunks Kemp was able to pull off, this one is probably his most popular one, with the celebration that might be the most famous post-dunk celebration of all-time. And the degree of difficulty-wise, this might also be the most impressive one. Enjoy.
Throwing it down on Hakeem Olajuwon
YouTube rarely lets you down, but unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened with this one. Kemp mentioned his poster on Hakeem as one of his favorite dunks ever, and we’ll just have to take his word for it. But even without seeing it, you get why dunking over one of the greatest defenders in NBA history made Kemp’s list. It’s an accomplishment very few can brag about.