By J.A. Adande
If you’ve wondered what makes Shannon Brown’s dunks seem, well, different, it’s his height. At 6-foot-4 he doesn’t blow you away with the physical improbability of smaller dunkers such as Nate Robinson, Spud Webb and Dee Brown, yet he doesn’t throw down with the ease or reach the heights of taller dunkers like Dwight Howard, Kenny Walker and Larry Nance.
No 6-foot-4 player has ever won the dunk contest. Three 6-5 players have won it: Desmond Mason, Harold Miner and Isaiah Rider.
Brown’s dunks remind me more of a 6-2 player, Robert Pack, who finished second to Rider in the 1994 contest. You can see some clips of Pack in the 1994 contest in this highlight package (turn down the sound to avoid some swear words in the music used for the soundtrack) and also some great clips of Pack throwing down over Shawn Kemp, Rik Smits and Shawn Bradley (Of course. What player in the 90s didn’t dunk on Shawn Bradley?).
Brown took a similar route into the dunk contest conversation, by elevating over Mikki Moore in a pre-season game, in a jam that turned Brown into the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter that night and the people’s choice for the contest.
Pack, who is now an assistant coach for the New Orleans Hornets, sees a little of himself in Brown’s dunks.
“I love his aggression, being a smaller guy in stature but big heart,” Pack said. “And that’s the way you have to play. He attacks it. Not everybody has that. When he goes he really attacks the rim, and I love to see guys do that. I’ve admired the way he attacks the rim.
“I always felt like the big guys had the advantage. I set the tone the way I played the rookie year. If I attacked the rim and missed it, the refs would give me the foul.
“What I used to tell guys, if I dunked on somebody smaller it was nothing. But to get the bigs, it was satisfactory. Those guys were waiting on me, and I felt it was a disrespect factor: ‘You know what, I’ll wait for you little fella, and I’ll meet you at the rim.’ And I always had something for ‘em. I’m sure Shannon and every other small guard that gets to the league has the same feeling.”