That time Spud Webb surprised Shawn Kemp

That time Spud Webb surprised Shawn Kemp

On March 6th, 1994, the Sacramento Kings (19-38) hosted the Seattle Supersonics (42-14). The NBA powerhouse Seattle, led by All-Star point guard Gary Payton (24 points), dominated the game from the opening tip. 

The Sonics’ other All-Star, high-flying forward Shawn Kemp, entered the game off the bench and scored 12 points to go along with 11 boards, while committing five turnovers and just as many personal fouls. It just wasn’t Reign Man’s evening that night in the Sacto’s ARCO Arena. 

On the other side, the Kings’ 5’6” point guard Spud Webb, legendary across the globe for his 1986 NBA All-Star slam dunk competition exploits, had a decent game scoring 12 points in 30 minutes of action.

However, Webb wasn’t able to contain his point guard peer, perennial Western Conference All-Star Garry Payton, who knowingly exploited his size advantage. 

The Glove would either blow around Webb or post-him up, either scoring easy deuces or drawing the Kings’ double-teams, and thus setting up extra scoring opportunities for his teammates. But the 5’7” Dallas native already got used to it throughout his distinguished career, playing with massive success in the land of giants. They couldn’t shake him off, boosting up his confidence level.

The definite highlight of this particular game came in the closing seconds of the first half of the play. With only 0.07 seconds left, the Sonics inbounded the ball, launched the cross-court pass, finding Kemp at the other end of the floor. Kemp caught the ball on the left-wing, turned around, and tried to launch a last-second prayer.

Never challenging each other in the annual NBA All-Star slam dunk competitions, this time 5’6” Webb, whose vertical leap was measured at 42 inches, challenged Kemp’s potential buzzer-beater. And not just challenged it, but he even managed to block it, preventing him from scoring at the buzzer!

That season alone, Webb managed to block a total of 23 shots made by his opponents, the second-best output of his entire NBA career. His career season-record was 24 rejections during the 1991/92 NBA season. Overall, over 12 years in the league, Webb managed to block 111 shots over 814 games.