The National Basketball Association (NBA) got an early warning about Shawn Kemp.
While Kemp was enrolled at a small community college in Texas, the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks hosted a dunk contest for fans. The top prize was the opportunity to practise with the team three times.
Kemp, who was two years removed from high school at that point, not only won the contest with ease, but bullied the NBA players so badly in the ensuing practice that the Mavs didn’t let him return.
“They let me practise the Friday, and they were like, ‘Yeah, you can’t come back here,’” Kemp told SLAM Magazine in 2013. A reporter attending the practice told Kemp afterward that he was the best player on the court.
A few months later, Kemp declared for the NBA Draft and was selected by Seattle. He went on to become one of the most electrifying dunkers of all time and, along with Gary Payton, led the SuperSonics to the best season in franchise history.