February 8, 1986: Anthony Jerome "Spud" Webb was the shortest NBA player in history when he came into the league at only 5'7" (Muggsy Bogues and Earl Boykins are the only two even shorter). But he always played larger than his size, and his leaping ability off the charts. His official vertical leap was listed at 42 inches, but some say he got up to 50.
Webb proved to be the highest and best flyer of them all during the 1986 All-Star weekend Gatorade Slam Dunk Contest at Dallas' Reunion Arena. Webb pulled off several dunks that would seem near impossible for a player of his height. In fact, his participation surprised the media; including his teammate and defending dunk champion Dominique Wilkins, who had "never seen me dunk before," Webb said.
His dunks included the elevator two-handed double pump dunk, the off-the-backboard one-handed jam, a 360-degree helicopter one-handed dunk, a reverse double-pump slam, and finally, the reverse two-handed "strawberry jam" from a lob bounce off the floor. Watch them all here:
Webb received a perfect 50 from the judges in the last two rounds and shocked Wilkins for the win.
20 years later, Webb would help train New York Knicks guard Nate Robinson and helped him win the dunk contest, making the two of them the only players under 6 feet tall to win it. Remember Robinson's dunks?
As a player, Webb averaged 9.9 points and 5.3 assists per game in his 12 NBA seasons with the Hawks, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic.
He is now the President of Basketball Operations for the Texas Legends, the D-League team for the Dallas Mavericks in Frisco, Texas. And a few years ago this video surfaced of him still dunking at age 47!
Here's to you Spud Webb, and the night you proved small guys can fly, too.