Shawn Kemp

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Shawn Kemp
Shawn Kemp (9523772347) (cropped).jpg
Kemp in 2012
Personal information
Born (1969-11-26) November 26, 1969 (age 51)
Elkhart, Indiana
Listed height6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight280 lb (127 kg)
Career information
High schoolConcord (Elkhart, Indiana)
NBA draft1989 / Round: 1 / Pick: 17th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Playing career1989–2003
PositionPower forward
Number40, 4
Career history
19891997Seattle SuperSonics
19972000Cleveland Cavaliers
20002002Portland Trail Blazers
2002–2003Orlando Magic
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points15,347 (14.6 ppg)
Rebounds8,834 (8.4 rpg)
Blocks1,279 (1.2 bpg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at
Men's basketball
Representing  United States
FIBA World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1994 Canada National team

Shawn Travis Kemp Sr.[1] (born November 26, 1969)[2] is an American former professional basketball player who played for the Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers, and Orlando Magic in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Nicknamed the Reign Man,[3] he was a six-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA Second Team member.

Early years[edit]

Kemp attended Concord High School in Elkhart, Indiana. At the prestigious B/C All-Star Camp on his first day, Kemp outplayed highly regarded prep star Terry Mills. A four-year varsity starter, he was considered to be one of the top four or five players nationally his senior year,[citation needed] 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.[4] Despite his achievements and accolades, Kemp was bypassed for the title of Indiana Mr. Basketball; Woody Austin won the award that year instead. There has been some speculation that Kemp was purposely passed over for the award because he verbally committed to the University of Kentucky and did not express interest in staying in-state to play college ball (Austin committed to Purdue University.)[5][6][7] Kemp was selected to the 1988 McDonald's High School All-American team (considered one of the best classes of all-time),[8][9] along with such notable players as Alonzo Mourning. 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.[10]

Kemp playing for the Concord High School varsity basketball team in 1987–88

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 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, did not 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."[11] 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.[12] After a semester at TVCC, where he did not play, 19-year-old Kemp declared himself eligible for the 1989 NBA draft.

Professional career[edit]

Seattle SuperSonics (1989–1997)[edit]

The Seattle SuperSonics drafted Kemp in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft. Although extremely athletic, Kemp was the youngest player in the NBA at that time and struggled to find his place. In his first season in Seattle, Kemp was mentored heavily by teammate Xavier McDaniel. As the season progressed, so did Kemp's skills, which propelled him into stardom. Kemp began to find his place in the NBA as a star during his second season with the SuperSonics. 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 the SuperSonics' announcer Kevin Calabro saw a poster with the name and thought it fitting to add to his radio broadcasts.[13]

One of Kemp's signature highlights was a 1992 playoff game against Golden State, where he memorably threw down a vicious slam dunk on Alton Lister.

Kemp played for the US national team in the 1994 FIBA World Championship in Toronto, winning the gold medal.[14] He also appeared in the MTV Rock N' Jock annual celebrity basketball game.

Kemp's career peaked in 1995–96, when he and Payton led the SuperSonics 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 SuperSonics pushed 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 two blocks. Shawn Kemp finished a close second in Finals MVP voting, almost becoming the second player to win the award despite being from the losing team.[15]

During his time in Seattle, Kemp occasionally played during the offseason on an outdoor court in Seattle's Belltown district.[16]

Kemp signed a contract extension with the SuperSonics in 1994. The league's collective bargaining agreement (CBA) precluded any adjustment to that contract until October 1997. He was upset by the situation, but his agent, Tony Dutte, understood that no negotiation was permitted. During this time, the SuperSonics signed Jim McIlvaine to a seven-year, $33.6 million contract, exceeding Kemp's salary. Kemp threatened to refuse to play in the upcoming 1996–97 season and held out of training camp for 22 days. Despite this absence, Kemp helped lead the SuperSonics to another 50-plus-win season as they dispatched the Phoenix Suns in five games in the first round, only to lose to the Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler-led Houston Rockets in a seven-game series in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. Following the 1996–1997 season, Kemp was part of a trade sending him to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks forward Vin Baker to the SuperSonics, and Terrell Brandon and Tyrone Hill from the Cavaliers to the Bucks.

Cleveland Cavaliers (1997–2000)[edit]

Kemp played three seasons with the Cavaliers while battling weight problems and often appeared to lack the drive that made him such a force in Seattle.[citation needed] Despite this, he posted career-high numbers for points per game in 1997–98 and led the Cavaliers to the NBA Playoffs, where they faced the Reggie Miller-led Indiana Pacers. The Cavaliers lost to the Pacers in four games despite Kemp averaging 26 points with 13 rebounds per game in the series.

During the lockout shortened 1998–1999 NBA season, Kemp reportedly showed up to training camp weighing 280 pounds, though Cleveland's then general manager Wayne Embry revealed that he was actually 315 pounds.[17] Though unable to shed the weight, Kemp managed to average 20.5 points and 9.2 rebounds.

Portland Trail Blazers (2000–2002)[edit]

Kemp 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.[citation needed] 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.[18]

Orlando Magic (2002–2003)[edit]

Kemp was signed as a free agent for the 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, Kemp was replaced by free agent forward Juwan Howard.

NBA comeback attempts[edit]

In April of the 2005–06 NBA season, Kemp's NBA comeback chances looked promising.[19] 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. Kemp failed to appear because of undisclosed reasons. The two parties tried to reschedule a workout but the NBA refused to grant Dallas an injury exception (for a 16th player). Kemp did not get a second chance to join the Mavericks that season.[20]

In June 2006, three 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."[21] 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.

During the half time of the SuperSonics' game on November 5, 2006, Kemp was announced as one of the 16 members of the 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 due to the good relationship between Kemp and Roberto Carmenati, the new Team Director of Montegranaro.[22] Kemp reported to the team, played in three preseason games, 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.[23]

After his active career he tried to bring basketball back to Seattle.[24] Kemp bought a mansion in Seattle in 2003 for $2.4 million, the year he retired from the NBA. In 2008, he listed the property for sale in the real estate market at a value of $3.7 million.[25]

Personal life[edit]

Kemp has seven children.[26] His oldest son, Shawn Kemp Jr., played for the University of Washington, and another son, Jamon, plays at Southeastern Louisiana University.[27]

Kemp appeared on the 2009 season premiere of Pros vs. Joes. A photograph of Kemp dunking over Hakeem Olajuwon appears on the cover of NBA Jam Extreme.

Kemp was the owner of a sports bar in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle, named Oskar's Kitchen. The establishment closed in 2015.[28] Kemp now owns a part of Amber's Kitchen on 1st Avenue in Seattle, as well as a controlling interest in several Seattle venues.

In October 2020, Kemp opened a cannabis dispensary in Seattle named Shawn Kemp's Cannabis.[29][30] He was joined at the grand opening by former teammate Gary Payton, whose Cookies brand cannabis strain he sells at the shop.[31]

Legal problems[edit]

On April 4, 2005, Kemp was arrested in Shoreline, Washington for an investigation of drug possession. Kemp and another man were found with a small amount of cocaine, approximately 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.[32] Kemp was again arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in Houston, Texas on July 21, 2006.[33]

Career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular season[edit]

1989–90 Seattle 81 1 13.8 .479 .167 .736 4.3 .3 .6 .9 6.5
1990–91 Seattle 81 66 30.1 .508 .167 .661 8.4 1.8 1.0 1.5 15.0
1991–92 Seattle 64 23 28.3 .504 .000 .748 10.4 1.3 1.1 1.9 15.5
1992–93 Seattle 78 68 33.1 .492 .000 .712 10.7 2.0 1.5 1.9 17.8
1993–94 Seattle 79 73 32.9 .538 .250 .741 10.8 2.6 1.8 2.1 18.1
1994–95 Seattle 82 79 32.7 .547 .286 .749 10.9 1.8 1.2 1.5 18.7
1995–96 Seattle 79 76 33.3 .561 .417 .742 11.4 2.2 1.2 1.6 19.6
1996–97 Seattle 81 75 34.0 .510 .364 .742 10.0 1.9 1.5 1.0 18.7
1997–98 Cleveland 80 80 34.6 .445 .250 .727 9.3 2.5 1.4 1.1 18.0
1998–99 Cleveland 42 42 35.1 .482 .500 .789 9.2 2.4 1.1 1.1 20.5
1999–00 Cleveland 82 82 30.4 .417 .333 .776 8.8 1.7 1.2 1.2 17.8
2000–01 Portland 68 3 15.9 .407 .364 .771 3.8 1.0 .7 .3 6.5
2001–02 Portland 75 5 16.4 .430 .000 .794 3.8 .7 .6 .4 6.1
2002–03 Orlando 76 55 20.7 .418 .000 .742 5.7 .7 .8 .4 6.8
Career 1,051 728 27.9 .488 .277 .741 8.4 1.6 1.1 1.2 14.6
All-Star 6 5 20.0 .458 .200 .750 5.8 1.7 1.0 .7 9.0


1991 Seattle 5 5 29.8 .386 .000 .815 7.2 1.2 .6 .8 13.2
1992 Seattle 9 9 37.6 .475 .763 12.2 .4 .6 1.6 17.4
1993 Seattle 19 19 34.9 .512 .809 10.0 2.6 1.5 2.1 16.5
1994 Seattle 5 5 41.2 .371 .667 9.8 3.4 2.0 2.4 14.8
1995 Seattle 4 4 40.0 .579 1.000 .821 12.0 2.8 2.0 1.8 24.8
1996 Seattle 20 20 36.0 .570 .000 .795 10.4 1.5 1.2 2.0 20.9
1997 Seattle 12 12 36.8 .486 .200 .829 12.3 3.0 1.2 1.3 21.6
1998 Cleveland 4 4 38.0 .465 .844 10.3 2.0 1.3 1.0 26.0
2002 Portland 3 0 11.7 .286 .700 2.7 .0 .3 .0 3.7
2003 Orlando 7 0 10.3 .381 .833 2.1 .0 .0 .0 3.0
Career 88 78 33.4 .498 .200 .797 9.7 1.8 1.1 1.6 17.3

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Shawn Kemp – All-Star". The Seattle Times. February 22, 1994. Retrieved November 27, 2014.
  2. ^ "Shawn Kemp Stats". Retrieved November 7, 2020.
  3. ^ "Shawn Kemp". Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  4. ^ "Shawn Kemp – Elkhart County, Indiana, Sports Hall of Fame". Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  5. ^ Forde, Pat (June 16, 1996). "Sports | Mister Basketball – True Confession: I Admit I Didn't Vote For Kemp – Future Sonic Was Super Then, Too | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  6. ^ "Shawn Kemp on Hall of Fame's Silver Anniversary team". Archived from the original on August 14, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  7. ^ Nelson, Glenn (March 3, 1991). "Sports | Man-Child – Seattle's Shawn Kemp Is Anything But A Little Kid On The Basketball Court | Seattle Times Newspaper". Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  8. ^ Taylor, Phil (February 10, 1992). "High School Basketball". Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  9. ^ Kirkpatrick, Curry (November 16, 1988). "The Class of '92 This could be the finest crop of freshmen the game has ever seen". Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  10. ^ "Results Plus – New York Times". April 18, 1988. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  11. ^ Jack McCallum (November 27, 1989). "Seattle's Shawn Kemp, just an NBA babe, is a potential – 11.27.89 – SI Vault". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  12. ^ "Kemp Leaves Kentucky". November 8, 1988. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  13. ^ "– The Official Shawn Kemp Web Site – Quiz". Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  14. ^ "Twelfth World Championship – 1994". June 10, 2010. Archived from the original on May 2, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  15. ^ Armour, Terry; Smith, Sam (June 17, 1996). "Kemp finishes a close second in MVP voting". Archived from the original on October 13, 2019. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  16. ^ Keown, Tim (February 19, 1996). "Reign Man". Sports Illustrated.
  17. ^ "Cleveland Cavaliers know trying to win after a lockout can be a weighty problem". The Cleveland Plain Dealer. October 15, 2011.
  18. ^ "PLUS: N.B.A.; Kemp Is Waived By Trail Blazers". The New York Times. August 21, 2002.
  19. ^ "The Seattle Times: Sports: Shawn Kemp eyeing a return to the NBA". Archived from the original on April 20, 2008.
  20. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on September 8, 2006. Retrieved April 11, 2006.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ Spears, Marc J. (June 3, 2006). "Kemp eager to return to game". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  22. ^ "Former NBA star Kemp agrees to play basketball in Italy – NBA – ESPN". August 18, 2008. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  23. ^ "Kemp's return to basketball cut short -". September 14, 2009. Retrieved March 15, 2020.
  24. ^ "Shawn Kemp: 'I feel it. Basketball will come back to Seattle.'". For The Win. April 24, 2018. Retrieved July 8, 2018.
  25. ^ "Shawn Kemp lists Seattle mansion for $3.7m | BWB". Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  26. ^ Wahl, Grant; Wertheim, L. Jon; Lester Munson; Don Yaeger (May 4, 1998). "Where's Daddy?" (Vault). Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 11, 2015. Fathering out-of-wedlock kids has become commonplace among athletes, many of whom seem oblivious to the legal, financial and emotional consequences
  27. ^ Leung, Diamond (July 7, 2011). "Shawn Kemp, Jr. signs with Washington". Espn. Retrieved October 10, 2013.
  28. ^ 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.
  29. ^ Allen, Percy (October 30, 2020). "Sonics fans come out in force to witness opening of Shawn Kemp's Cannabis in Queen Anne". The Seattle Times. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  30. ^ Brito, Christopher (October 30, 2020). "NBA legend Shawn Kemp wants the cannabis industry to open up to "everybody"". CBS News. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  31. ^ Booth, Tim (October 30, 2020). "Shawn's Hemp: Former NBA All-Star Kemp enters pot business". Associated Press. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  32. ^ "The Seattle Times: Sports: Former SuperSonic Shawn Kemp arrested". Archived from the original on September 29, 2007.
  33. ^ "ESPN – Former All-Star Kemp charged with drug possession – NBA". July 21, 2006. Retrieved December 10, 2013.

External links[edit]