The Pump

In 1991, Dee Brown was a nondescript rookie guard on a Boston Celtics team with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. 

That was until he entered the Slam Dunk Contest and changed everything.

Before the competition, Brown found some motivation when the contestants were signing autographs for kids in the crowd. One of fans pointed at Brown and asked if he was Shawn Kemp’s little brother.

That’s when Brown said to himself: “I’m winning this contest.”

He pumped his Reeboks – something that he said was done spontaneously — and went in for his dunk. His “No See Dee” dunk is the most memorable from the contest, but by pumping his shoes, he singlehandedly put Reebok on the map.

The shoe company was ecstatic, taking out a full page ad in USA Today, and giving Brown his own shoe line, the Reebok D-Times. The following year, Reebok outsold Nike’s Jordan shoe line.

In a lengthy retrospective at Nice Kicks, Brown told the story after running into Michael Jordan after the contest:

"I went to a party that they had for the players only, and when I walked in, I felt like Michael Jordan. Everybody was talking about the shoes and the no-look dunk and how they had never seen that before. At the party, the fans were trying to get into the VIP where the players were.

Somehow, the fans got into it, so the players were getting escorted to a different place. Somehow, I got into the same corridor with Michael Jordan. It was just us two by ourselves, which. Mind you, I’m still a rookie at this time. He says to me, “Hey, you did a great job, and it was a great show you put on at the contest. But, shoe-wise, I have to go at you now.”

That’s all he said. It’s crazy because he wasn’t talking about basketball; he was talking about shoes.

He was like, “You’re trying to put a dent in my pocket.” But that’s just his mindset. He was a competitor. No matter what it was, he wanted to be the best. That moment also let me know how powerful the pumping of my shoes was.

That one night made that shoe very iconic.”

66 notes

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    No See Dee.
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    Classic moment ill never forget. These guys today are failing.
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