Shawn Kemp is a large person. It’s an obvious fact, but it’s made all the more apparent when you meet him up close. Just to sit comfortably, Kemp has to take up a seat in two rows in the stands at KeyArena. He is also one of the nicest, most gracious people you are likely to ever meet. He’s a Seattle legend, and this year he’s been further tied into local basketball lore, as his son is playing for the UW basketball team.
I had the chance to meet Shawn and his wife at the Seattle U – Utah State basketball game, in the same arena where he threw down dunk after dunk over overmatched opponents not so many years ago.
The Blog: What do you like about this Seattle University basketball team?
Shawn Kemp: I’m a big fan of the coach [Cameron Dollar]. I’ve met him, and I’ve met a majority of the players on the team too. I still think of Seattle as the underdog, going up against bigger teams no matter who they’re playing, so it makes sense to support them.
TB: So what brings you here instead of the UW game?
SK: I was over watching the game at my restaurant [Oskar’s Kitchen in Queen Anne] and came over here after that. Tough game.
TB: I imagine it’s not quite the same as a Sonics – Jazz game back in the day, is it?
SK: It doesn’t quite have the same feel, but every time the game gets close, the intensity picks up.
TB: Do you like anyone in particular on this team, anyone stand out to you?
SK: My wife thinks number 2 [Aaron Broussard] is the best player on the team, but I like the kid from North Carolina, number 25 [Eric Wallace]. He’s tough, and he likes the ball. I like that.
TB: I can’t resist asking this. What was the nastiest dunk you ever threw down?
SK: The nastiest? Ooh. The nastiest one was probably the first one. There was one in New York, in Madison Square Garden. I think it was a reverse. I’ve got some good memories in this gym. I jammed on Rodman’s head in the Finals on that rim over there (points). Then there was the Lister Blister, and the Rattlin’ Gatling. There was a lot of them.
Huge thanks to Shawn for taking the time to talk. If you’re wondering about some of the dunks he mentioned, check out the video below. The Madison Square Garden dunk is #3, the “Rattlin’ Gatling” is #5 and the “Lister Blister” is #1.