"This guy is amazing! Every time he stepped out onto the court, he inspired us with his determination. Spud has beaten the odds and his story will leave you flying high!"

Magic Johnson

Born on July 13, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, Webb dreamed from a very early age of mixing it up with the big names of the NBA. His size, however, would always prove to be his main enemy to achieving that dream. Standing at only 5'7" (tiny compared to the NBA average height of 6'7"), Webb had to struggle for many years before he was given his chance at stardom.

Spud Webb's career began back while attending junior high in Dallas. After attempting to get into the junior high team, Webb was told to "sit in the stands" because he was too small to play. After sitting on the sidelines for many games, he convinced his coach to give him a shot. Repaying his coach’s' faith, Webb scored 20 points in his first competitive game. When Webb moved up to Wilmer-Hutchins High, he tried to win a place in the senior team, but was told to play in the junior varsity team, once again due to his size. After brief thoughts of quitting the game, Webb spent even more time training, and eventually made the senior team, which he then took all the way to the playoffs.

Despite averaging 26 points per game in high school, as well as getting picked in the all state team, Webb was not recruited by any of the top division basketball colleges, due to (you guessed it) his size. Taking this setback in his stride, Webb went to Midland Junior College, where he led the team to the junior college title. After the setbacks he had suffered up until now, he finally got a break when North Carolina State offered him a scholarship, after Webb greatly impressed then head coach Jim Valvano after being invited for a tryout.

In the summer before Webb's freshman year, he achieved his first ever slam dunk. Standing at just 4'11" (just on 1.5 metres), Webb leaped over 4 feet into the air during a training session and slammed the ball home with both hands, as fellow players looked on in awe. This would not be the last time the world would look in awe at Webb.

Having led North Carolina to the 'Sweet 16' stage of the NCAA college basketball tournament, his dream of being drafted in the 1984 national draft were shattered, when he was overlooked (no pun intended) because of his size. Not willing to give up, Webb went and played in the United States Basketball League for a year. Finally in 1985, his dream came true, being drafted at #87 in the draft by the Detroit Pistons. Just when things were looking up, the Pistons cut Webb from the team. The Atlanta Hawks came to his rescue, giving him a place in the team and a successful career for 6 years, before trading him to the Sacramento Kings for the 1991-92 season. After another 4 years here, he returned to Atlanta for 1 season.

After being unable to secure a contract for the 1996-97 season, Webb went to Italy to play for Scaligera Verona, averaging 12.7 points per game, however only managed to get 3 starts. He moved back to the US at the end of the season and signed with the Orlando Magic for 1997-98, however, he played just 4 games before retiring from the sport.

The highest point of his career came in the 1986 annual Slam Dunk competition, held on All Star weekend. The shortest player by far in the competition for that year, Webb’s' main rival was fellow team-mate at Atlanta, Dominique Wilkins. After easily moving through the first round, Webb tied with Wilkins in the semi, making an all Atlanta final. Webb flew like an eagle in the final round, nailing 2 perfect 50 dunks to edge out Wilkins by 2 points and taking the 1986 Slam Dunk competition crown. A huge achievement for a man who overcame so many obstacles to achieve his dream.

Since his retirement from the NBA, Webb has joined the public speaking circuit, focusing on overcoming insurmountable obstacles and achieving the seemingly unachievable. There would be few better who could speak on this topic.

"If you want to achieve something, I mean really want to do it, you've just got to set your mind that you can achieve that goal. It is important to see the possibilities, not the obstacles. The best way to get me to do something is to make it clear to me that you think that I can't do it."

Anthony "Spud" Webb

Career Statistics

College

                  MIN   FG%   3P%   FT%  RPG  APG  TPG  BPG  SPG   PPG
80-81 Midland JC  ...  51.5        78.1  2.0  7.1  ...  ...  ...  20.8
81-82 Midland JC  ...  44.5        77.4  3.0 10.1  ...  ...  ...  14.6
83-84 NC State   29.7  45.9        76.1  1.8  6.0  2.6  0.3  1.9   9.8
84-85 NC State   27.8  48.1        76.1  2.0  5.3  2.3  0.1  2.0  11.1
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Div I TOTALS     28.8  47.0        76.1  1.9  5.7  2.5  0.2  1.9  10.4

NBA

Comprehensive yearly statistics can be found here: http://www.basketballreference.com/players/playerpage.htm?ilkid=WEBBSP01. At the end of his career, Webb had averages of:

Points Per Game: 9.9
Field Goal %: 45%
Three Point %: 31%
Free Throw %: 85%
Rebounds Per Game: 2.1
Assists Per Game: 5.3
Steals Per Game: 1.1


Sources:

  • http://www.geocities.com/tzovas/nbastars/webb_spud.html
  • http://www.spudwebb.net/spudwebb/main.htm
  • http://www.slamonline.com/magazine/features/spud/
  • http://www.sportsstats.com/jazzyj/greats/85/webb.htm
  • http://www.nba.com/history/allstar/slamdunk_year_by_year.html#1986

Sasha Gabba Hey! says re Spud Webb: I was disappointed that this was not a wu about potatoes. Then again, I'm disappointed by many non-potato related things. - Just for you: http://www.angelfire.com/tx2/rayspage/webb2.html =)

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