Happy birthday, Shawn Kemp.
More than a decade before Blake Griffin was embarrassing defenders with his slam dunks, Kemp did everything the Los Angeles Clippers forward does — but better. Known as the “Reign Man,” Kemp was such a ferocious dunker that his opponents would occasionally give him high-fives after he victimized them.
Kemp has turned into a cautionary tale, mostly unfairly. He did come back after the 1998 lockout overweight, but he was still one of the best players in the NBA. An out-of-shape Kemp averaged 20.8 points and 9.2 rebounds while playing 42 out of 50 games that season, continuing a streak of seven consecutive seasons in which he averaged at least 17 points and nine boards. He went on to play all 82 games the following season while averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
Check out 10 of Kemp’s best highlights in the video below.
Photo via Flickr/Cavs History