Slam Dunk of 1986. Spud Webb

Spud Webb. Atlanta Hawks |

Spud Webb, Atlanta Hawks | Complex

The defending NBA Slam Dunk Champion of 1986 was Dominique Wilkins. Like many spectators, Dominique had never seen Spud Webb dunk before. Spud’s listed height of 5’7” compared to Dominique’s height of 6’8″ looked almost impossible to challenge. Despite being one of the shortest players in NBA history, Spud managed to EXCEED EXPECTATIONS, battling dunk after dunk for a win.

Anthony Jerome “Spud” Webb’s winning combination of talent, practice, and his personal DEDICATION, made him a winner by the time he joined the Atlanta Hawks.

“I don’t play small. You have to go out and play with what you have. I admit I used to want to be tall. But I made it in high school, college, and now the pros. So it doesn’t matter.” – Spud Webb

As a kid, what caused Spud Webb to discover the sport of basketball in the first place? Could it have been his speed or his jumping abilities? Maybe he outsmarted or outplayed the other kids in his neighborhood? By the time Spud was in 7th grade, he knew that he had talent for sports.

While Webb attended Wilmer-Hutchins High School, he remembers being rejected to be on the varsity team. He was told to play on the junior team instead because of his height. As a result, Webb recalls being REJECTED and DISCOURAGED. Instead of quitting the sport altogether, Spud decided to improve his abilities by practicing to improve his weakness. Only two short years later, during his senior year in High School, he was named Player of the Year. He went on to be one of ten Texas high school players to make it to the All-State Team.

(1986 Slam Dunk Contest | YouTube – jjmedina 25)


  • elevator two-handed double pump dunk
  • off-the-backboard one-handed jam
  • 360-degree helicopter one-handed dunk
  • reverse double-pump slam
  • reverse two-handed strawberry jam from a lob bounce off the floor


  1. Think about Spud Webb’s size. What effect did his size have on him playing basketball as a child?
  2. What you believe Spud had to do in order to compete with players such as Dominique Wilkins?
  3. How do you believe Spud Webb made a difference in the sport of basketball?

Categories: Biography

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6 replies

  1. Even though he is small he didn’t let it interfere.

  2. I think he got bullied because he was small, but that didn’t keep him from following his dream.

  3. It is obvious that Spud did not let his size, or what other people said to him or about him, hold him back from pursuing what he wanted to do. That takes time and dedication and a refusal to give in when critics are waiting in the wings to bring you back down to the ground. This is an inspirational and uplifting post for the little guy, for all the Davids out there trying to beat the Goliaths of the world. Thanks for a great post!