Dunking on a motherfucker must be like, the best feeling in the entire world. Which makes it kind of annoying that the ability to fly-leap through the air and slam an orb of vulcanised rubber down on someone’s melon is one that belongs exclusively to the very tall. An idea Spud Webb sought to challenge and then promptly destroy with a thundering dunk delivered from the heavens.
Standing just 5ft 7 inches tall at his competitive peak, Webb looked almost comically out of place on the court, often being flanked be men a clear foot and nearly a hundred pounds heavier than himself.
Channelling his inner Rock Lee, Webb turned what for most would be an insurmountable disadvantage into his greatest strength, honing his leaping ability to the point he was quite literally able to block a shot from the tallest player in NBA history. Manute Bol, a guy who was a full two feet taller than himself.
Webb’s astonishing ability to propel himself several feet into the air using his powerful, cheetah-thighs often shocked even his teammates who were astounded that someone as short as he was could rocket skyward like someone had turned off the gravity. Perhaps the most impressive thing about Webb’s leaping ability though is that he could absolutely dunk like a pro, whenever he damn well felt like. A skill he often hid from teammates and opponents so that when he did dunk on someone it was especially embarrassing.
For example while in 7th grade a then 5ft 3 Webb managed to scrape his way onto his school basketball team thanks to a technicality when two other plays forgot to complete their physical. The story goes that before their first game, the coach told Webb that he was simply too short to be a basketball player and to go sit in the stands, Spud responded by dunking a nearby basketball which we’re assuming shut him right the fuck up.
Webb similarly hid his dunking ability while playing in the NBA, allowing only a select few to know that he possessed the ability to soar into the sky and tomahawk dunk like it wasn’t even shit. Something that made his decision to take part in the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk contest come as something as a shock to fans, the media and his own teammates. One of whom was the the current reigning dunk champion of basketball. Dominique Wilkins, a man who spent most of his time gliding through the air like a basketball playing preying mantis.
On the night of the contest Webb shocked a sell out crowd by utterly dominating Wilkins with a flawless display of dunking prowess, breaking out newly discovered dunk tech that involved slamming the ball into the floor so hard that it flew 12 feet into the air and then spiking it into the hoop with enough force to shatter a concrete Rolex.
Webb eventually won the contest, scoring a perfect 50 points for his final two dunks and receiving a $12,500 prize. His dunking ability now revealed a sheepish Webb then revealed in a post-contest interview that he was an undefeated dunking champion, casually stating that he’d never actually been beaten in a contest of dunks. Information he’d decided to hide until that exact moment, presumably just to fuck with people who’d bet against him in the contest because of his height.