Spud Webb, centre, of the Atlanta Hawks holds the trophy above his head and poses with a cheque after he won the 1986 Slam Dunk Contest on Feb. 8, 1986 at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. (File/NBAE via Getty Images)
Anthony Jerome "Spud" Webb is an inspiration to basketball players everywhere who were told they were too small to play, let alone dunk.
CBCSports.ca wants to wish a happy birthday to athletes and those other individuals involved in the sports world that left a lasting legacy on their game. Today, we say "Happy 49th" to Spud Webb, the NBA's shortest slam dunk champion.
For all the would-be basketball players told they're too small to play, let alone dunk, just type "Spud Webb" into YouTube.
Despite standing only 5-foot-7 tall (that's 170cm for you metric system fans), Anthony Jerome "Spud" Webb won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk competition in grand fashion in his hometown of Dallas. Seven players, including Webb's Atlanta Hawks teammate and defending champ Dominique Wilkins, all tried, but could not match Spud's skills:
Not too shabby for a player who faced height discrimination throughout his career, all the way from his JV high school team through to his college ball years. Webb entered the jam contests in 1988 and 1989, and while not winning the title, he did produce some highlight reel moments (Spud's highlights begin at 1:15).
Twenty years after his win, all-star weekend landed in Dallas once again and Webb was on hand to help fellow diminutive (5-foot-9) dunk contest competitor Nate Robinson with this jam:
Robinson replicated Webb's two decades earlier win, capturing the Slam Dunk contest title, and has won it twice since then (in which he used that same dunk, albeit a slighty modified version.)
Webb's playing days may have ended in 1997, but he didn't walk away from the game. He's now with the D-League's Texas Legends as their President of Basketball Operations. And as this promo video shows, he hasn't lost his touch:
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