I promised yesterday a follow up about Kenny ‘Sky’ Walker though, on second thought, it’s not much of a story. Long story short – Walker was a highly regarded player coming out of Kentucky whom the Knicks selected with the fifth overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft. He was 6′ 8″, strong and could jump through the roof. In his third season, he won the dunk contest. The contest was a much bigger deal in those days, drawing the games superstars in a way that is no longer true. Michael Jordan had won the previous two contests.
We have a difficult time discounting what our eyes tell us. When we see an athlete perform the kinds of feats that elite dunkers do, it’s hard for the typical person, on some level, not to infer basketball playing abilities that, in fact, may not be closely related to the aptitude necessary to pull off crazy dunks. Walker washed out after five seasons due to injuries (he did try to come back a couple of years later) and had a couple of decent seasons along the way. But the 1989 dunk contest was, by far, his career peak. Just a little cautionary tale for Zach LaVine.