Contrary to popular belief, Shawn Kemp did not follow in the footsteps of Darryl Dawkins and go straight from high school to the NBA. Kemp actually made two college stops before putting on a Sonics uniform.
After a standout high school career in Indiana that had some analysts believing the high flying McDonalds All-American could make the big leap straight to the NBA, Kemp decided to take his game to Indiana’s rival Kentucky. This choice caused a lot of drama in his hometown during his senior year, especially after he failed the SAT test. Opposing teams would chant “S-A-T” during the games which was usually followed by a chant of “N-B-A” from the home team’s fans.
Kemp stuck with his plan of attending college instead of the N-B-A but another failing score on the S-A-T prevented Kemp from playing his freshman year. During this time of ineligibility, Kemp found himself in a big campus controversy when he was accused of stealing and pawning $700 worth of jewelry that belonged to his teammate and son of the head coach. The Suttons did not press charges but between the “Bills n’ Mills” scandal and Kemp taking the blame for the pawn shop incident, Kemp announced a week later that he would be leaving Kentucky and attending a community college in Athens Texas called Trinity Valley.
Kemp would spend a basketball-less semester at the community college before making himself eligible for the NBA and the rest is history.
14 years after making his NBA debut, Kemp’s biggest endorser in the 90s, Reebok, is releasing his popular Kamikaze II shoes in Kentucky colors and calling them the “Letter of Intent.” It’s a nice tribute and a cool idea but an idea I don’t think Kentucky or Kemp are too fond of…unless money is involved, but that’s what got them in trouble in the first place.
Source: Seattle Times