It’s been four years since we released this video of a 6-2, 165-pound junior guard getting his head over the rim before slapping the ball through the net during warm-ups. The dunk made Kwe’shaun “Kwe” Parker an internet sensation and established him as the best dunker in high school.
Like man-child Zion Williamson (who is reportedly now weighing 285 pounds with a 40-inch vert) over the past two years, Parker’s aerial antics were viral gold online and mind-blowing in person. People were arriving to his games early to watch his warm-ups like Golden State Warrior’s fans do to watch Steph Curry’s routine that includes a shot from the tunnel. And like Curry’s tunnel shot, fans held their breath as Parker would launch and seem to float for seconds in the air before getting to the rim. And like Curry’s tunnel shot, the crowd would erupt on the makes or give out a loud moan on misses. The following video is an example of one of those misses that was so spectacular, it had some questioning if he was even human.
As much as we loved the highlights of him inspecting the rims in warm-ups or dunk contests like the City of Palms (against Lonzo Ball) and Jordan All-American Game, there was one person who hated the dunks. His ironic twitter handle was @IJump_TooMuch.
“Man I hate those dunking highlight videos,” said @IJump_TooMuch owner Kwe Parker to USA Today. “All of it. I… I hate it.”
“I’m a basketball player,” Parker added. “If you look at a highlight video of me you see all of my dunks, but the reality is that only happens a couple times in a game. The rest of the time I’m knocking down shots, making passes and playing defense. I don’t want to be known as the dunker. I don’t like that.”
Most “dunkers” go through that phase. I’ve heard those same words come from everybody from guys on the And1 Mixtape tour to the greatest dunker of all-time: Vince Carter, who not only turned down an opportunity to defend his NBA dunk championship, he basically called dunking overrated. Parker agrees.
“I’m stopping and pulling up for jumpers now,” Said Parker about his warm-up dunks going viral. “After that last dunk when I got the No. 1 spot on Sportscenter it showed me that the only thing people see is dunks. That’s not helping me.”
I can see why the label frustrates these guys, but when you are blessed with the ability to defy gravity, people like vertically-challenged me are going to rave about it and spam family and friends with videos like this hoop mixtape.
I got to meet Parker two years later. It was at our All-American game and after he suffered a couple of injuries, including a broken foot. He still had a lot of bounce but not enough to beat the freak that is Terrance Ferguson, who was fairly unknown in 2014 and my pick to win the NBA Dunk contest in 2019.
Parker went on to play at Tennessee (over schools like Wake Forest, Clemson, Virginia Tech and Rutgers), where he only averaged 8 minutes and a single point a game.
After the disappointing freshman season, he transferred to Cape Fear Community College, where he averaged 11.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 27 games. The highlight of the season was a 21-point performance that included him knocking down 5-of-7 threes and shooting 8-of-11 overall. He also had a 20-point game on 7-of-11 shooting and 4-of-6 from three.
He told you he’s more than a dunker. But, he doesn’t mind reminding his IG followersthat he still has hops.
I have no clue where his basketball journey is going to take him in the future but I’ll never forget when we all first started following his journey four years ago.