Spud Webb is definitely one of the most interesting stories in the history of the NBA, showing the world something they’ve never seen before in the 1986 NBA Dunk Contest.
He was drafted in the 4th round of the 1985 Draft and was not expected to make the roster, or the league for that matter because of his height, but the 5ft7 Point Guard managed to make the Hawks roster and have a respectable career, playing 13 seasons while averaging 9.9 ppg and 5.3 apg.
Even though he had a solid career, he is most remembered for his performance in the dunk contest in 1986, which he won. He was the shortest person ever to compete in the dunk contest, so he surprised the media and his teammates, especially the defending dunk champion Dominique Wilkins who apparently said: “he never seen him drunk before”.
His dunks included the elevator two-handed double-pump dunk, the off-the-backboard one-handed jam, a 360-degree helicopter one-handed dunk, a reverse double-pump slam, and finally, the reverse two-handed strawberry jam from a lob bounce off the floor. Spud said he didn’t practice or prepare for the contest, so none of his dunks included any props. They were pretty simple but still incredibly exciting because of his vertical leap which lifted the crowd up on their feet. He defeated Wilkins with two perfect 50-point scores in the final round.
The player that came the closest to Spud is the 5ft9 Nate Robinson who won the contest 3 times, with Spud Webb coaching him in 2006, and helping him with a toss while Robinson jumped over him. Nate and Spud are the only two people in NBA history under six feet tall to win a slam dunk contest and are still to this day an inspiration for all the shorter players that there are no limits to what you can achieve.