Phi Slamma Jamma sounds like the name of some rare pokemon. If it were a pokemon, it would’ve been a very tall one with an extreme power to dunk a basketball. This was the name attributed to the University of Houston Cougars men’s basketball teams of the early 1980s. The name stood for the Cougars’ unorthodox method of playing street ball on a basketball court and setting up plays that ultimately ended in a slam dunk which Coach Guy Lewis referred to as “high-percentage shots”.
Houston had players like Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler to back up this style of play. However, the 1983 NCAA Championship game proved that Phi Slamma Jamma could be had. An underdog North Carolina State Wolfpack team came into Albuquerque, New Mexico with a tall order on their hands (no pun intended). They attacked Houston right out of the gates and led by 7 at the half. Phi Slamma Jamma woke up in the second half and dominated but missed a lot of free throws allowing North Carolina State to tread water (maybe a little less dunking and more free throw practice does the trick).
The last seconds of the game were classic and one of the greatest moments in sports archives history. With the game tied 52-52, NC State’s Dereck Whittenburg puts up a 30 foot arching air ball only to be grabbed by Lorenzo Charles who dunks it through at the buzzer! Hence, ironically, Phi Slamma Jamma is given a taste of its own medicine and is beaten by a dunk in the last second, 54-52!