Former Wildcat Minniefield reflects on his famous ‘dunk’ 40 years later

Minniefield’s thunderous slam is one of the Top-5 dunks in UK history
Published: Feb. 9, 2023 at 12:12 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - What makes a play great? A myriad of factors come to mind. The surprise of the moment, certainly, is near the top of the list. Dirk Minniefield is the UK career leader in assists with 646 but on the evening of February 8, 1983, the Lafayette product brought the 23, 548 UK fans to their feet with a dunk still talked about, but not analyzed, four decades later.

Melvin Turpin stole the ball and immediately looked for the then senior guard. What happened next is one of the most stunning dunks in UK and college basketball history. Former WKYT Sports Manager Dick Gabriel asked the former guard to explain why it was so emotional. Here’s what Minniefield said:

“The dunk!” You know that’s what everybody always talks about. You know, it’s my college moment. Coach Hall (Joe B. Hall) subs me out and I am booed. You know are they really booing me? So I am hot and I go back in the game. Turp (Melvin Turpin) gets the steal and throws it to me. I don’t care. King Kong could have been back there, as I have said before, I’m going to dunk this ball. So when I when I jump, you know the guy kind of leans and the inertia, like he said, my knee is like getting ready to hit him in his chest. But, the inertia just pushes me and I just keep going. If you watch the tape of the dunk, as I am looking back at the bench I’m kind of like giving the ‘F-sign’. That’s really what I said.”

No matter what Minniefield said on that February night 40 years ago, his dunk will be remembered by anyone who was at Rupp Arena and by the man who lived it against Mississippi State.