Childhood & Early Life
Spud Webb was born Anthony Jerome Webb, on July 13, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, to Katie and David Webb. He was from a poor family that struggled hard to make ends meet. To make matters worse, he had five other siblings. The entire family of 8 people lived a small two-bedroom house in Dallas.
In order to escape the tiresome family condition, Spud looked for inspiration elsewhere and found out that basketball was something that he loved. However, his family and friends were not initially hopeful, as his small frame was the biggest roadblock in his journey to ‘NBA.’
Not disheartened by this, Spud worked hard to use his biggest “drawback” as his core strength and worked on his speed and accuracy.
He tried to enter the school basketball team for the first time in seventh grade, but he was rejected and was told that he was too short to play with the other kids. He kept practicing and slowly improved his skills, which somehow earned him a place on the basketball team when he was in junior high. One big reason behind his selection was the absence of two regular players on the team.
Spud surprised everyone as he scored 22 points in his first game. He was 5 feet 3 inches tall at that time, and his dunking abilities caught everyone’s attention. With some good performances to his name, he entered the ‘Wilmer-Hutchins High School,’ where he once again faced the same issue, his height.
He was put on the junior varsity team during his high-school years, where he exceeded everybody’s expectations and scored an average of 26 points per game.
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Despite performing regularly well during his high-school years, it was getting difficult for Spud to find a college that was interested in him. The reason, yet again, was his height. However, he found a place on the ‘Midland College’ basketball team, the ‘Chaparrals.’ He led his team to the junior college national title in 1982.
In the final game against ‘Miami-Dade,’ Spud delivered his career’s best so far, scoring 36 points. His performance in the tournament was the big break he was waiting for. He became a national headline after ‘Sports Illustrated’ wrote an article on him. In 1983, he was named an ‘NJCAA-All American’ by the ‘NJCAA,’ or the ‘National Junior College Athletic Association.’
Spud was noticed by ‘North Carolina State University’s assistant coach, Tom Abatemarco. Tom introduced Spud to Jim Valvano, the head coach of the university basketball team. Meeting him, Jim understood his potential and offered him a scholarship at the university. His vertical leap measured at more than a meter in college.
In 1985, during the ‘NBA Draft,’ his selection was not likely, as assumed by many scouts. It was thought he would be playing in Europe, where the average height of basketball players was shorter than Americans. However, against all odds, he was drafted by the ‘Detroit Pistons’ in the 1985 ‘NBA Draft.’
He, however, made his debut with the Atlanta Hawks,’ starting in the 1985–1986 season. During his first few years with ‘Atlanta,’ his performance was neither too bad nor too good.
During his first season with ‘Atlanta,’ he scored an average of 7.8 points per game in the 79 games that he played for the team. In the next 2 years, he struggled to perform, as his average PPG dropped to 6.8 and 6.0, respectively.
The 1988–1989 season was his career’s worst-performing year, as he only scored an average of 3.9 points per game.
However, in the next two seasons, he made a strong comeback, scoring an average of 9.2 and 13.4 points, respectively.
He was let go of by the ‘Hawks’ in 1991. The same year, he was picked up by the ‘Sacramento Kings.’ His confidence level increased, and he delivered his career-best performance in his first year for the ‘Kings,’ scoring an average of 16.0 points per game.
In the next three seasons that he played for the ‘Kings,’ he scored an average of 14.5, 12.7, and 11.6 points per game, respectively.
He joined the ‘Atlanta Hawks’ in 1995, and with below-average performances, he knew his best days were well behind him. He retired from the game after the 1998 season.
In 1986, he entered the ‘NBA Slam Dunk’ contest and became the shortest player in history to enter the contest. It took place in his hometown, Dallas. His participation surprised the local media houses, and he made waves after winning the competition against much taller players.