Kemp playing for the Concord High School varsity basketball team in 1987-88
|No. 40, 4|
November 26, 1969 |
|Listed height||6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)|
|Listed weight||230 lb (104 kg)|
|High school||Concord (Elkhart, Indiana)|
|College||Trinity Valley CC|
|NBA draft||1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17th overall|
|Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics|
|Pro playing career||1989–2003|
|2000–2002||Portland Trail Blazers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||15,347 (14.6 ppg)|
|Rebounds||8,834 (8.4 rpg)|
|Blocks||1,279 (1.2 bpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Shawn T. Kemp (born November 26, 1969) is a retired American professional basketball player, who played in the National Basketball Association for 14 seasons. He was a six-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA Second Team member.
Kemp attended Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana. A four-year varsity starter, he was considered one of the top four or five players nationally his senior year, and led his team to the state championship finals. Kemp ended his high school career as Elkhart County's all-time leading scorer and the owner of Concord's career, single-game and single-season scoring records. Despite his achievements and accolades, Kemp was bypassed for the coveted title of Indiana Mr. Basketball; Woody Austin, who signed to play for Purdue University, won the award that year. There has been some speculation that Kemp was passed over for the award because he verbally committed to Kentucky and didn't express interest in staying in-state to play college ball. Kemp was selected to the 1988 McDonald's High School All-American team (considered one of the best classes of all-time), along with such notable players as Alonzo Mourning, Billy Owens, Todd Day, Lee Mayberry, Chris Mills, Anthony Peeler, and Stanley Roberts. Kemp scored a team-high 18 points for the West in a losing cause. The final score was 105-99 in favor of the East.
During his senior year, Kemp signed a national letter-of-intent to play basketball at the University of Kentucky. Kemp failed to score the minimum score of 700 on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, or SAT, and was forced to miss his freshman year under the NCAA's Proposition 48 rules. Jim Hahn, Kemp's high school coach, didn't like the idea of Kemp being in Kentucky without playing basketball, saying "To have Shawn in a college environment without basketball, the one thing he loves, was, I felt, a big mistake. It even crossed my mind to advise him to go right into the NBA, and the only thing that stopped me was the fact that so few players have done it." Kemp decided to enroll at Kentucky. However, he left the team in November 1988 after he was accused of pawning two gold chains that had been reported stolen from his teammate Sean Sutton, the son of then Kentucky head coach Eddie Sutton. Sean Sutton did not press charges, but Kemp transferred to Trinity Valley Community College in Texas. After a semester at TVCC, where he did not play, 19-year-old Shawn Kemp declared himself eligible for the 1989 NBA Draft.
The Seattle SuperSonics drafted Kemp in the first round of the 1989 NBA Draft. Although extremely athletic, Kemp was young and struggled to find his place in the NBA. At the time, he was the youngest player in the NBA. In his first season in Seattle, Kemp was mentored heavily by teammate Xavier McDaniel. As the season progressed, so did Kemp's desire to learn and become better, which propelled him into stardom. Kemp finally began to find his place in the NBA as a star during his second season with the Sonics. Together with Gary Payton, Eddie Johnson, Ricky Pierce and Nate McMillan, they became a highly successful squad. After Kemp's second NBA season, he picked up the nickname "Reign Man" after Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro saw a poster with the name and found it fitting to add to his radio broadcasts.
He played for the US national team in the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Toronto, winning the gold medal. He also appeared in MTV's Rock N' Jock annual celebrity basketball game, where he dunked on a young Leonardo DiCaprio.
Kemp's career peaked in 1995–96, when he and Payton led the Sonics to a franchise-record 64 wins and their first NBA Finals appearance since 1979. They faced Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who were coming off an NBA record 72 wins. The Sonics managed to push the heavily favored Bulls to six games before losing. In the finals, Kemp posted per game averages of 23.3 points on 55% shooting from the field, 10.0 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Kemp, having signed a long-term contract before the rapid increase in NBA salaries, was earning substantially less than most players of his repute. He was outraged when Sonics management denied his request for a raise, while offering Jim McIlvaine, a five-year, $35 million contract. Kemp threatened to refuse to play in the upcoming season, and the resulting tension with management eventually led to a blockbuster three-team trade following the 1996–1997 season that sent Kemp to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks forward Vin Baker to the Sonics, and Terrell Brandon and Tyrone Hill from the Cavaliers to the Bucks.
Kemp played three seasons with the Cavaliers, where he battled weight problems and often appeared to lack the drive that made him such a force in Seattle. Despite this, he posted career-high numbers for points per game.
During the lockout shortened 1998–1999 NBA season, Kemp reportedly showed up to training camp weighing 275 pounds, though Cleveland's then general manager Wayne Embry revealed that he was actually 315 pounds. Though unable to shed the weight, Kemp still managed to average 20.5 points and 9.2 rebounds. But again, he was not in the same explosive form that he was known for.
Portland Trail Blazers
He was then traded to the Portland Trail Blazers after the 1999–2000 season. The trade reunited Kemp with Bob Whitsitt, who had originally brought Kemp to Seattle. However, Kemp's play began to decline significantly. The last few years of Kemp's professional basketball career were riddled with problems stemming from his weight, as well as cocaine and alcohol abuse. His first season in Portland ended early when he entered drug rehabilitation.
After two seasons with the Blazers, Kemp was waived prior to the 2002–03 season.
He was signed as a free agent for the Orlando Magic, and helped the Magic reach the playoffs despite the loss of starting small forward Grant Hill. During his one season in Orlando, Kemp played in his 1000th NBA game. In their first round series, the Magic took an early three games to one lead before losing to the Detroit Pistons in seven games. Following the 2002–03 season, Shawn Kemp was replaced by free agent forward Juwan Howard.
NBA comeback attempts
In April of the 2005-06 NBA season, Kemp's NBA comeback chances looked promising. The eventual Western Conference champion Dallas Mavericks considered adding Kemp to their roster in time for the NBA playoffs. Mavs' coach, and former Sonic teammate, Avery Johnson scheduled a personal workout to take place in Houston, where Kemp trained for several months. However, Kemp failed to appear because of undisclosed reasons. The two parties tried to re-schedule a workout but the NBA refused to grant Dallas an injury exception (for a 16th player). Ultimately Kemp did not get a second chance to join the Mavs that season.
In June 2006, 3 months after a drug arrest, the Denver Post reported that Kemp had slimmed down to the playing weight of his all-star days and was determined to join an NBA team, possibly the Denver Nuggets, and finish his career "the right way." The Nuggets ultimately turned their attention away from Kemp, signing power forward Reggie Evans. Kemp drew some interest from the Chicago Bulls in September 2006, but missed his scheduled workout to visit an ailing relative instead.
During halftime of a November 5, 2006 Sonics game, Kemp was announced as one of the 16 members of the Seattle SuperSonics' 40-year anniversary team. After having the longest ovation of all the players, Kemp said after the celebration that he would play with a team in Rome and was still considering a comeback to the NBA. Kemp, however, did not secure a position on an NBA roster during the 2006–07 season.
On August 18, 2008, Kemp signed a one-year contract with Premiata Montegranaro of Italian League. Despite being almost 39, he was said to be in good shape. The Premiata deal came about by the good relationship between Kemp and Roberto Carmenati, the new Team Director of Montegranaro. Kemp reported to the team, played in three preseason games and then returned to Houston to assess his home for damage from Hurricane Ike. Kemp and Premiata Montegranaro decided to part ways, and the contract was rescinded.
His oldest son, Shawn Kemp Jr., committed to play basketball for Auburn University on November 11, 2009. Shawn Jr, a graduate of Cherokee High School in Canton, Georgia is a 6'9" 220 pound center. He was named as an alternate in the 2009 McDonald's High School All-American Classic. Shawn Jr was heavily recruited by Florida, Alabama, Indiana, and Arkansas. Kemp Jr., did not qualify academically and did not play for Auburn during the 2010–11 season. In 2011, Kemp Jr. signed with the University of Washington.
Shawn Kemp appeared on the 2009 season premiere of Pros vs. Joes.
Kemp is the owner of a sports bar in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, named Oskar's Kitchen.
On April 4, 2005 Shawn Kemp was arrested in Shoreline, Washington for an investigation of drug possession. Kemp along with another man were found with cocaine, about 60 grams of marijuana and a semiautomatic pistol, according to the King County Sheriff's Office. On April 29 Kemp was formally charged with drug possession and pleaded guilty. Kemp was again arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Houston, Texas on July 21, 2006.
- List of National Basketball Association players with 1000 games played
- List of National Basketball Association career free throw scoring leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career rebounding leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career blocks leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career turnovers leaders
- List of National Basketball Association players with most blocks in a game
- Kemp Leaves Kentucky
- Reignman.com – The Official Shawn Kemp Web Site – Quiz
- 1994 USA Basketball
- "Cleveland Cavaliers know trying to win after a lockout can be a weighty problem". The Cleveland Plain Dealer. October 15, 2011.
- "PLUS: N.B.A.; Kemp Is Waived By Trail Blazers". The New York Times. August 21, 2002.
- "The Seattle Times: Sports: Shawn Kemp eyeing a return to the NBA".[dead link]
- "The Denver Post – Kemp eager to return to game". Denver Post.
- No-show Kemp blows chance with Bulls
- Former NBA star Kemp agrees to play basketball in Italy - NBA - ESPN
- Shawn Kemp's Return to Basketball Cut Short AOL, September 30, 2008
- This Week's SI: An Inside Look
- Auburn coach Tony Barbee talks signees, the new arena and perks for students | al.com
- Shawn Kemp, Jr. signs with Washington
- Carpenter, Les. Thunder, not Supersonics, are in the NBA Finals, and Seattle is stewing over bitter departure. Yahoo Sports. June 13, 2012. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "The Seattle Times: Sports: Former SuperSonic Shawn Kemp arrested".[dead link]
- ESPN – Former All-Star Kemp charged with drug possession – NBA