“Shawn Kemp dunked on Chris Gatling, then dapped him”: When Sonics superstar produced the Lister Blister and another poster

Samir Mehdi
|Published April 30, 2021

Shawn Kemp had two of the greatest and most disrespectful dunks in NBA history 29 years ago today in Supersonics series against Warriors. 

The NBA has undergone a series of evolutions over the 70+ years since its inception. As the game has progressed naturally over the decades, the main difference between the style of play now and what it was in the 1950s, is the spacing provided by deep-range snipers in today’s game. Guys like Steph Curry and Damian Lillard have stretched the floor all the way out to the half-court line. 

Along with the shooting and defenses that have evolved over the years, one aspect has remained constant; and that would be dunks. The more athletic the players coming into the league were, the more bombastic were the dunks from these players. 

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Shawn Kemp is perhaps the perfect example of a player that was brought on to the court to wreak havoc on the rim. He has had numerous memorable dunks over the span of his career, with most coming from his time with the Seattle SuperSonics. 

Shawn Kemp unloads two of the greatest dunks of all time in one game against Chris Gatling and the Warriors. 

The Seattle SuperSonics faced off against the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the 1992 Playoffs. It was in this series that Shawn Kemp unleashed a barrage glass-shattering dunks upon the Warriors. Prior to the two dunks he had in Game 4, he had perhaps one the greatest alley-oops in NBA history to seal a victory. 

This Game 3 alley-oop was however, just a taste of what was in store for Game 4. With about 6 minutes remaining in the first half, Shawn Kemp threw a monster jam on Alton Lister, after which he profusely pointed to a fallen Lister, as if mocking his futile attempt at a block. 

As if this wasn’t enough, he would go on to practically baptize Chris Gatling, merely 5 minutes after having sent Lister to the astral plane. What happened after this dunk however, was quite different from the Lister dunk. Gatling had actually blocked a SuperSonic’s shot but Kemp found the ball at the charity stripe and jammed it over Gatling.

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The ReignMan was clearly ready to taunt Chris as well but upon seeing the latter give him props on the poster, decided to shake hands with him instead. 

There have not been many moments in NBA history that have emulated what took place that night 29 years ago. Perhaps the closest thing that comes to mind would be Blake Griffin’s 3 posters on Aron Baynes in the same game, while on the Clippers. 

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About the author

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi

Samir Mehdi is a senior strategist for the NBA division at The Sportsrush. Ever since he was 13 years old, he’s been obsessed with the game of basketball. From watching Kobe Bryant’s highlights on YouTube to now, analyzing and breaking down every single game on League Pass, Samir’s passion for the game is unwavering. He's a complete basketball junkie who not only breaks down current games but also keenly watches ones from the 60s’ and 70s’ while also reading comprehensive books on the history of the league. Samir’s life revolves around basketball and he hopes that shows in his work. Aside from work, he loves to spend time in the gym and with his friends at social gatherings.

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