Shawn Kemp was a basketball legend known for his athleticism and tenacity. He rose to fame in the mid-90s, when he led the Seattle Supersonics to three consecutive championships. His career was cut short by mounting injuries and drug abuse that would eventually take his life at only 43 years old.
The “shawn kemp nickname” is a biography of Shawn Kemp, who was one of the most famous basketball players in the 90s. He had an amazing career, but his life came to a tragic end.
Basketball had lots of stars in the 1990s, athletes who were so entertaining to watch that you couldn’t miss a game while they were playing…
There are a few names that spring to mind when you think about these stars. To mention a few, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Grant Hill, Shaquille O’Neal, and a young Kobe Bryant.
But what if I told you that in the mid-1990s, one of the most thrilling players to watch, a high-flying performance that was unquestionably must-see television, was a guy named Shawn Kemp?
Shawn Kemp, dubbed “The Reign Man,” was perhaps the hardest dunker in NBA history, and this isn’t just a fan’s opinion; NBA luminaries have said it as well.
Isiah Thomas, the two-time champion and leader of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boy” team, had this to say about Shawn Kemp:
“I don’t believe we’ve ever seen somebody slam with that much venom.”
Thomas is completely correct. Shawn Kemp’s dunks had a unique feel to them, and spectators in the stands noticed it as well.
Shawn Kemp’s skill was so admired at one time that he was likened to Michael Jordan… for real.
Shawn Kemp was described as follows by a sports writer named Mike Kahn in 1992:
“The natural power, speed, and leaping, as well as the intimidating emotions after a particularly good move, all remind me of Michael Jordan.”
This was high praise indeed, but before we get into Kemp’s NBA career, let’s take a look at how the “Reign Man” got his start in basketball.
Shawn Kemp was born in Elkhart, Indiana, on November 26, 1969. Concord High School was his alma mater.
Shawn Kemp outplayed highly rated prep talent Terry Mills on his first day at the elite B/C All-Star Camp. Kemp received a lot of praise from the community, including from his high school basketball coach.
Shawn Kemp went on to be a four-year varsity starter, and his senior year, he was recognized as one of the best four or five players in the country.
During his senior year, Kemp also led his high school team to the state championship finals.
The “Reign Man” (or kid) finished his high school career as Elkhart County’s all-time highest scorer and Concord’s single-game, single-season, and career scoring records holder.
Shawn Kemp was a member of the McDonald’s High School All-American squad in 1988. Kemp was a member of the perhaps finest McDonald’s High School All-American squad in history. Alonzo Mourning, another NBA legend and Hall of Famer, was his teammate.
Despite the fact that Kemp’s side, the West, lost the McDonald’s game 105–99, he scored a team-high 18 points, demonstrating that he can compete with the best.
Shawn Kemp would later sign a national letter of intent to play basketball for the University of Kentucky, but his collegiate basketball career would be cut short due to poor academics.
Shawn Kemp failed to meet the NCAA’s Proposition 48 requirements by scoring below 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). As a result, he was forced to sit out his first year.
Jim Hahn, Shawn Kemp’s high school coach, said the following in response to the possibility of Kemp not being permitted to play basketball at Kentucky:
“I believed it was a major mistake to put Shawn in a collegiate setting without basketball, his one true passion. It almost occurred to me to counsel him to enter the NBA straight away, but I was deterred by the fact that so few players had done it.”
Shawn Kemp, Coach Hahn, would become one of the select handful to make the transition from high school to the NBA.
Shawn Kemp began his college career at Kentucky, but he quit the team in November 1988 after being suspected of pawning two stolen gold necklaces. Sean Sutton, the son of then-Kentucky head coach Eddie Sutton, was the owner of the chains.
Despite the fact that Sean Sutton did not file charges, Kemp decided to move to Trinity Valley College in Texas as a result of this event.
Shawn Kemp didn’t last long in college; after a semester at TVCC, where he didn’t play, Kemp declared himself eligible for the 1989 NBA Draft at the age of 19.
The Seattle SuperSonics then picked “the man kid” who would subsequently be known as the “Reign Man” with the 17th overall choice in the first round.
Shawn Kemp didn’t “wow” many people as a rookie, averaging just 6.5 points and 4.3 rebounds in 13.8 minutes. Kemp’s work caught everyone’s attention from 1993 to 1998:
– An average of 18.5 points per game
– Rebounds per game: 10.5
– An average of 1.4 steals per game
– Per Game, 1.5 Blocks
– Field Goal Percentage of 51%
– Free Throw Percentage of 74%
The Seattle SuperSonics immediately established themselves as a team to be concerned about in the NBA, thanks to Gary “The Glove” Payton and his partner, the loud talking defensive stopper.
The SuperSonics finished third in the Western Conference in 1993. (they had the sixth-best record in the west the previous season).
The next season, they had the best record in the league, going 63-19. Only a few years later, in 1996, the SuperSonics would win the Western Conference for the second time, with a 64-18 record.
When the Sonics had the best record in the league (94) and in the west, two awful things happened to them (96).
First, in 1994, the top-seeded Seattle SuperSonics were defeated in a stunning upset by Dikembe Mutombo in their first-round series. In the NBA playoffs, the Nuggets became the first eighth seed to defeat a number one seed. They came out on top 3-2 in the series.
The Sonics then had a successful year in 1996. Shawn Kemp was at the top of his game, scoring 19.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game while shooting 56.1 percent from the field.
Gary Payton, his running partner, was named defensive player of the year, making him the first point guard to ever earn the honor.
Their difficulty was that they were up against the best team in ever, headed by the greatest player in history, in the finals… The Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.
That year, the Bulls won 72 games and seemed to be on their way to a simple victory, particularly after winning the first three games of the playoffs.
The Sonics, on the other hand, did not give up. Shawn Kemp did not give up. Kemp, who had 32 points and 29 points in his first two games in Chicago, was held to to 14 points on seven shots in Seattle.
Shawn Kemp did not, as I previously claimed, resign. To rescue the series, he scored 25 points on 12-17 shooting. Game 4 was a rout for the Sonics, who won 107-86.
In game 5, the Sonics defeated the Bulls once again, with Shawn Kemp scoring 22 points and collecting 10 rebounds. The Sonics triumphed 89-78.
In game 6, Shawn Kemp and the Sonics’ gallant comeback effort fell short, as the Bulls triumphed 87-75. Kemp had a good game with 18 points and 14 rebounds, but the Bulls were too much for him.
After the NBA Finals defeat to the Chicago Bulls, everyone had great expectations for Shawn Kemp. His performance in the Finals drew a lot of attention from critics and fans alike, but this was the start of the “Reign Man’s” collapse.
Shawn Kemp was noticed going through the motions in practice during the 1996-1997 season, as though he didn’t care as much as he used to.
Shawn Kemp was said to have shown up to practice inebriated. Kemp was also accused of drinking late the night before a game, according to sources.
The most famous instance of this occurred the night before the year’s most anticipated matchup: February 2nd, 1997 against the Chicago Bulls. This was a replay of the finals, which were set to take place in Seattle.
The night before the game, the “Reign Man” was reportedly seen drinking late into the night at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar in Seattle.
Kemp remained at the bar until two a.m., according to bar employees, and drank nine to ten cocktails in a three-hour, 15-minute span, combining single shots of Crown Royal whiskey with Corona beers.
Shawn Kemp seemed to be inebriated at the start of the game against the Bulls, as he didn’t take a single shot in the first 18 minutes.
In the game, the “Reign Man” only took 11 shots and scored 16 points. His body language did not reflect a genuine interest in the game. The Bulls won by a score of 91-84.
After the Sonics failed to give him a new deal, Shawn Kemp became irritated with the team. Kemp did receive a huge deal the next season, but with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Would the “Reign Man” be resurrected in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s hometown? No, that is not the case.
Kemp’s seven-year, 107-million-dollar deal with the Cavaliers was almost immediately regretted by the Cavaliers. When the “Reign Man” arrived to training camp overweight and out of shape, he wasn’t ruling over anything.
Shawn Kemp tried to get back into playing form throughout the full 1997-1998 season. In Cleveland, he lacked the ferocity that made him so famous in Seattle.
The “Reign Man’s” situation would only worsen the next season. Because to the lockout, the 1998-1999 NBA season did not begin on schedule.
Shawn Kemp arrived at training camp 50 pounds overweight before the season began on February 5, 1999.
Kemp was said to have fathered seven children with six different women, according to a Sports Illustrated report.
To make matters worse, the “Reign Man” became involved in the narcotics trade. Kemp’s once-positive reputation was fading, and his performance on the court was deteriorating as well.
Kemp was moved to the Portland Trail Blazers in 2000, but he only averaged 6.5 points per game. Kemp entered himself into a drug rehabilitation center for cocaine misuse during the 2000-2001 NBA season.
Kemp was banned for five games less than a year later for not following through on his aftercare arrangement.
Shawn Kemp went on to play two more seasons, averaging fewer than seven points per game in all of them.
The “Reign Man” spent his last season with the Orlando Magic, but was released the following season. He was not offered a contract by any NBA club.
Shawn Kemp’s personal life did not improve much after the Magic released him. Kemp was arrested for marijuana possession on April 4, 2005 in Shoreline, Washington.
According to the King County Sheriff’s Office, Shawn Kemp and another guy were discovered with a small quantity of cocaine, 60 grams of marijuana, and a semiautomatic weapon.
Kemp pled guilty to his charges on April 29. Then, on July 21, 2006, Shawn Kemp was arrested in Houston, Texas for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Shawn Kemp tried a few times to return to the NBA, but he was unsuccessful. Despite the fact that he’ll never play in the NBA again, the “Reign Man” seems to be putting his life in order.
Kemp presently owns a portion of Seattle’s Amber’s Kitchen on 1st Avenue. He also owns a stake in a number of Seattle venues.
Kemp just established Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis, a cannabis store in Seattle, in October 2020.
Shawn Kemp’s career is sometimes overlooked, but if you look closely, the “Reign Man” ruled throughout the most of the 1990s.
Shawn Kemp’s professional statistics are as follows:
– Avg. Points Per Game: 14.6
– Rebounds: 8.4 per game
– An average of 1.6 assists per game
– An average of 1.1 steals per game
– Per Game, 1.2 Blocks
– Field Goal Percentage of 48.8%
What are your thoughts? Do you consider Shawn Kemp to be one of the most talented players of the 1990s? Do you consider him to be one of the most interesting players on the team?
If you don’t believe me, then watch Shawn Kemp’s highlights from “Reign Man” on YouTube… You will not be disappointed.
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Shawn Kemp was an NBA player who was born in 1966. He played for the Seattle Supersonics and Portland Trail Blazers. He is best known for his time with the Sonics, when he led them to their first ever championship in 1979. Reference: shawn kemp net worth.
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