NBA, Video / Dec 31, 2007 / 9:52 am

H.O.F. Watch – Shawn Kemp

When we started this Hall of Fame Watch series, the idea was to look at active NBA stars and see who had the necessary H.O.F. credentials. Naturally, though, the list of active players with arguable resumes couldn’t go on forever. So now we’re going in another direction: looking at the retired players who either haven’t been voted in or aren’t yet eligible for induction. Today’s candidate: Shawn Kemp.

SHAWN KEMP (14 yrs., Sonics/Cavs/Blazers/Magic)
14.6 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks per game

Why: Anyone who got to watch Kemp during his run with the Sonics knows that from a sheer talent standpoint, he was one of the greatest power forwards ever to play the game. “The Reign Man” could handle the ball, pass, rebound, block shots, knock down mid-range jumpers and score inside — not to mention he is the best big-man dunker of all-time and his career highlight reel ranks right up there with Vince and MJ in terms of entertainment value. For the bulk of his career, Kemp’s production backed up the hype. He made six NBA All-Star teams and has three All-NBA second team selections. In his best year as a pro, ’95-96, he averaged 19.6 points, 11.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks while leading the Sonics to the NBA Finals, where they lost to MJ’s Bulls.

Why not: As far as rapid declines go, Kemp is similar to Steve Francis — it seems he went from All-Star to barely hanging on in the League in the blink of an eye. It wasn’t long before Kemp went from averaging 20 and 9 with Cleveland to battling weight gain and substance abuse problems, playing 15 minutes a night in Portland and then being a role player in Orlando. Between the way Kemp fell off and his recent failed comeback attempts, he is seen — despite having an overall prosperous career — as a poster child for unfulfilled potential and wasted talent.

Our call: OUT

The H.O.F. Watch archive
12/28 – Tim Hardaway
12/17 – Dennis Rodman
12/10 – Mitch Richmond
12/7 – Rasheed Wallace
12/6 – Michael Redd
12/5 – “Too Early”
12/3 – Bruce Bowen
11/30 – Dikembe Mutombo
11/29 – Ron Artest
11/28 – Pau Gasol
11/27 – Kevin Garnett
11/26 – Manu Ginobili
11/21 – Amare Stoudemire
11/20 – Rip Hamilton
11/19 – Baron Davis
11/16 – Shaquille O’Neal
11/15 – Steve Francis
11/14 – Ben Wallace
11/13 – Sam Cassell
11/12 – LeBron James
11/9 – Tim Duncan
11/8 – Steve Nash
11/7 – Yao Ming
11/6 – Gilbert Arenas
11/5 – Robert Horry
11/2 – Kobe Bryant
11/1 – Grant Hill
10/31 – Dirk Nowitzki
10/30 – Tony Parker
10/29 – Elton Brand
10/26 – Carmelo Anthony
10/25 – Vince Carter
10/24 – Penny Hardaway
10/23 – Alonzo Mourning
10/22 – Allen Iverson
10/19 – Dwyane Wade
10/18 – Chauncey Billups
10/17 – Stephon Marbury
10/16 – Jason Kidd
10/15 – Shawn Marion
10/12 – Ray Allen
10/11 – Chris Bosh
10/10 – Chris Webber
10/9 – Paul Pierce
10/5 – Jermaine O’Neal
10/4 – Gary Payton
10/3 – Tracy McGrady

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  • Myrie

    OUT….But Kemp was ill back in the ’90s. We have never seen a big man get up and dunk like him. Ever. He had flair soaring to the rim.

    Dime…..do Derrick Coleman next….

  • Kobeef

    Another case of someone who had the potential to be in the HOF but got off track and fizzled out (fattened up?)

    If he had kept up his play from early in his career he would have been in, cause yeah – in the 90’s he was a combination of Amare and Josh Smith.

  • Brown

    One thing you didn’t mention was how much love NBA fans had for him. Back then, even if you weren’t a Sonics fan, people loved Shawn Kemp.

    It just goes to show you how fast you can fall off if you’re not 100% dedicated to your profession.

  • control

    The ladies definately loved Kemp…like 20 children with 20 different women, in 20 different states. Definitely OUT.

  • http://www.highschoolhoop.com Tom Toronto

    I used to love Kemp back in the day, I even had his Kamikaze sneaks, the black and white ones! But he fell off way too hard, so he’s gotta be OUT. He’s IN the child support Hall of Fame though!

  • Celts Fan

    hey Tom, that’s the Travis Henry Memorial Child Support Hall of Fame if you want to be technical about it (though he and TH are going in on the first ballot)

  • QQ

    The Glove and The Reignman making clowns out of other cats in the 90’s: HOW ILL CAN YOU GET!?

  • Bank

    At .52 seconds that is shaq being dunked on.

  • JA

    This is by far the best NBA highlight video I’ve ever seen.

    Kemp was my favorite player growing up, so I’m biased on this one.

    I guess it is a question of how much should being one of the most exciting & entertaining players of all time influence HOF voting.

    Happy New Years Dime et al

  • Who

    Kemp should get into the hall of fame

    Karl Malone and Charles Barkley were two of the greatest PFs of all time and were at their peak when Kemp was around. Kemp was better than both of them from ’94-’98. Every time those guys matched up against one another you could tell the gulf in class. Kemp also caused MJ’s Bulls more problems than any other player, leading Seattle against that 72 win squad and garneing some love for Finals MVP despite a loss and the dominance of MJ. He was that good.

    He also changed the face of basketball as we know it from two different standpoints: (1) Like Moses and Spencer Haywood and a couple of others, he jumped to the Pros from HS. It hadn’t been done in years and it would start every HS player in tha nation during the 90’s to consider making the leap, (2) He changed the whole identity of the PF position. Before just a physical bruiser, an enforcer who cleaned up the garbage and allowed their Centre and guards to work. Kemp would bring his ballhandling, inside-outside game and sheer athleticism and change the position forever.

    I don’t think he will get in but I believe he belongs there.

  • K-Dizzle

    Doesn’t get in; doesn’t belong there
    great highlights tho, the lockout killed his career
    that and the fat contract Cleveland gave him

  • Celts Fan

    ya and the groupies, kids, drugs, lack of self control, lack of work ethic…

  • doc

    He was a fuckin monster. I hate to leave Kemp out I gotta put him in since its my opinion.

  • BustJlaze

    Yo, the windmill ON SOMEONE at 3:03?? WHAT?! That’s the sickest dunk I’ve ever seen on someone. He had the best after-dunk moves, too…and the blocks where he’d wind up like he was spiking a volley ball? Rediculous. He got robbed mad times in the Slam Dunk Competition, too…especially in 91 vs Dee Brown! Kamakaze’s UP, Pumps DOWN!! HOF IN!

  • Hards

    Doesn’t make it for mine.

    BTW NBA Superstars 3 called, they want their video back. Shouldn’t there be clips of Eddie Vedder stage diving in their somewhere?

  • Ian

    im a little biased on this one but
    hes my third fav pf ever

    in in in in in in in

    who from 94 to 98 he wasnt better than those u mentioned btw

  • Sacto J

    Kemp revolutionized the 4 spot. Before his breakout, you had guys like Malone (operated on the block,) Barkley (again operating out of the block,) and there might have been a couple other big namers out there I’m forgetting, but the general idea is that they were all big rebounders who got their offense on the block. Then came Kemp, who could frequently be seen dribbling the ball up the floor, or starting a move just inside the 3 point line, extremely active for a big. Not since Dominique had a guy been that big and that active. Ever since, you have seen power forwards try to emulate his style; guys like C-Webb, K-G, Bosh, and several others, but Kemp will always be the prototype for the athletic 4. And that’s not even mentioning the entertainment value. HOF status has never been much about what you do off the court, so his multitudes of Brady Bunches are wasting of little importance unless you plan on going out on a date with him, and because of that, I say a guy who revolutionizes a position gets IN, ‘Nuff respect…….