Shawn Kemp is my favorite basketball player of all time, period. He was raw, he was ferocious, and he could leap.

At 6’10”, with the build of a god, he could dash past defenders and leave the remaining men stunned from a huge tomahawk jam. To me, nobody flew like Kemp. I’d seen Jordan dunk and I’d seen Wilkins dunk, but I wanted to annihilate the basket the way Kemp did. At 5’10” with a poor vertical, I could only dream, but I had never wanted a poster of a basketball player until I saw Kemp.

Shawn Kemp wore my favorite sneakers. I loved the Reebok Kamikaze I but the Reebok Kamikaze II was the shoe for me. Designed by Jonathan Morris (who also did the Shaqnosis), it featured the most easily recognizable design of any sneaker I’d seen. The huge zig-zag, great color blocking, and gorgeous silhouette of the shoe were all I needed. I now own over 25 pairs — from GRs to samples to OGs.

Meeting the Reign Man himself during the 2015 Sneakersnstuff and Packer Shoes Token38 pop-up during All-Star Weekend was an amazing moment for me. He signed by Kaze IIs — a big, bold signature right in the zig zag. Speaking to his son was awesome.

When I think of basketball I see Shawn Kemp flying through the air in a classic Sonics jersey, ready to grab the pass from Payton and slam it down.

Happy birthday Shawn Kemp, hopefully you had a great Thanksgiving.

P.S. Y’all can keep Jordan and Pippen, Kemp and Payton is the dynamic duo!

Perhaps the best Kemp dunk poster. Over half the East team is just staring in amazement. This hangs above my bed to this day. Photo via Nathaniel S. Butler.
Who says he can’t fly? Photo via Walter Iooss Jr.
Kemp slamming it down with both hands rocking the Reebok Kamikaze I, circa 1995. Photo courtesy of Andy Hayt.
Kemp dunking in the 1995 ASG wearing the rare Reebok Kamikaze I Low. Dumars and Ewing are just looking on in amazement. Photo courtesy of Nathaniel S. Butler.
Even Scottie smiled. Kemp, 1996 ASG, Reebok Kamikaze II ‘All Star’. Photo via Noren Trotman.
1996 NBA ASG. Reebok Kamikaze II ‘All Star’. Photo courtesy of Andrew D. Bernstein.
Kemp rocking the Reebok Kamikaze II ‘Sonics’.

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