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Today in Performance Sneaker History: Spud Webb Wins ’86 Dunk Contest in Pony City Wings

Years before Dee Brown, there was Spud Webb. In 1989, the 5’7″ rookie shocked the world with his showing in the NBA Dunk Contest. To this day, he is the shortest player to ever win the contest. Even his Hawks teammate, the defending champ Dominique Wilkins, was genuinely surprised, as he had yet to see Webb perform a slam dunk.

Webb’s impressive slams would take him to the finals of the event, where he faced off against Wilkins. The two teammates went head to head, with Webb earning two perfect fifty-point scores for his dunks and dethroning Dominique as the Dunk Contest champion. At the time, Atlanta head coach Mike Fratello had this to say about the result: “Spud kind of duped him. He told Wilkins he never had anything prepared, didn’t practice for it. So, Wilkins maybe thought his normal assortment would be good enough to get through.”

Duped or not, Spud Webb helped to shatter the stigma of “bigger is better”, inspiring smaller players across the globe. His “everyman” reputation was furthered by his sneaker selection: the Pony City Wings low top. The City Wings were a sneaker with a price-point that allowed players of all income levels to join the fun. Nowadays, the classic Spud Webb low isn’t exactly easy to track down, but it’s worth keeping an eye on eBay if you’re interesting in picking a pair up.

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