Shawn Kemp was one of the unique high flyers in NBA history. In combination with Gary Payton, who was able to facilitate any kind of pass, they formed a duo that epitomized the 90’s NBA. The Seattle Supersonics was their team, and they gained tremendous popularity during their prime years. The chemistry between them was unbelievable, and in an interview on What’s the Skinny, Shawn Kemp talks about the influence other players had on him and Payton when they were coming up as young stars in the league.
Early in their careers, both of them realized they would have to look up to some older players from which they can learn. Kemp said they emulated and in some way, patterned their game by watching Karl Malone and John Stockton with whom they often faced in their careers. Of course, they would add their flare to the game, but they studied these two the most.
“First of all, we learned from Stockton and Malone. They were two teachers, and they beat us down early in our careers. I love Karl Malone. There were some growing pains, but he taught me some lessons that I definitely learned from.”
Kemp also mentioned some other players that he and Payton looked up and admired playing against throughout the years. They had a tough time
“The other three would be the Mavericks, Derek Harper Mark Aguirre, and Detlef Schrempf. The other two would be Shaq and Kobe. Those two were tough in L.A.”
In recent years, the duo of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, while playing on the Clippers, reminded a lot of fans of the times when Kemp and Payton ruled the NBA. Kemp said he followed them a lot and thought they were a good duo before they both left the Clippers.
“I thought that was a great combo. They use to call them Lob City, and we were the original Lob City.”