The two starred together in the Supersonics uniform from 1990 until 1997 becoming known across the league and the world’s popular culture for their art of making the spectacular alley-oop plays. Highlight reels from that era just can’t be imagined without plays from this special duet.
Although the two had countless lob plays across the decade one of the most memorable, but still uncompleted, is the one from the Sonics game with the Sacramento Kings, played on March 18th, 1993.
With the Sonics pretty certain that the W is already in the books, the team’s creative department went to work and came up with what might have been one of the potentially best plays of the decade!
Knowing that such ‘hot stuff’ is exclusively reserved for All-Star games (Isiah Thomas threw one such lob to Michael Jordan in the 1989 ASG in Houston), and with a ‘green light’ from the coach George Karl, Payton bravely decided to throw up a lob pass off the glass!
Of course, The Glove knew that there isn’t a thing in a world he could throw up there that his buddy Shawn Kemp a.k.a. The Reignman couldn’t catch and put it in a basket!
Leading the Sonics 4-1 break and the only Kings player fronting him being 5’7” Spud Webb, Payton didn’t hesitate to go where no player had gone before in the regular-season game. He did the same thing he already tried in the practice sessions – he just threw the ball up there, off the glass…
…and right into the Kemp’s wide hands! The Reignman, who was cutting down the lane caught it in the mid-air and took the areal position as he was going to tomahawk it, looking straight to the basket.
But an attempt to slam dunk it in, led by ferocious energy impulse, didn’t quite succeed. The ball went around the rim and then out, in what is today one of the most spectacular slam dunk misses of all time!
Kemp, of course, made it up to the Supersonics fans by making a bunch of the nice in-game dunks. Having an easy time dealing with the Kings 6’10’’ power forward Pete Chilcutt, Kemp made a couple of tomahawks and a windmill jam from the left-wing.
The fourth-year pro, who became an NBA All-Star just one month earlier, scored 27 points on 11-15 shooting from the field, to go along with 17 boards and 3 assists in the Supersonics 111-131 home win.