Sonics Update

  • Wednesday, December 5, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

Opponent: Miami Heat

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: KeyArena

TV: None

Radio: KJR (950 AM)

Homecoming: Seattle SuperSonics vice president Billy McKinney is making a sort of homecoming tour on this latest trip.

McKinney, who is broadcasting Sonics games with Kevin Calabro, began his executive career in Minnesota, as the expansion team’s first general manager in 1988. Then, in 1992, McKinney moved on to Detroit, where he served as the team’s general manager until 95, when he came to Seattle.

In fact, McKinney said Wednesday night was the first time he has set foot in Detroit since leaving, because he had such bad memories of the organization.

“I refused to come back,” McKinney said. “My experience here wasn’t great. But everybody has been great, they’ve been very gracious about me coming back. Minneapolis has always been that way. But the whole trip has been fun. I’ve gotten to see a lot of old working colleagues, visit some old friends, eat at some of the restaurants I used to frequent.”

McKinney said the Pistons haven’t changed a great deal since he left, but the Timberwolves organization is completely different.

“Their ownership has been different, and that has made quite a difference,” McKinney said, referring to billionaire Glen Taylor. “It’s made a difference with how that team is managed and how it is perceived in the city.”

By the way, Minneapolis is home to J.D. Hoyt’s, a great pork chop restaurant. McKinney has flown the cook out to Seattle to cater several of the Sonics’ preseason dinners.

Pep talk pays off: Detroit’s Jerry Stackhouse tied his career-high 11 assists, unusual for one of the league’s best scorers.

He almost didn’t play.

“We had a walkthrough this afternoon,” Pistons coach Rick Carlisle said. “He had his head down and he looked upset and I wasn’t sure what it was. I invited him in the office and he said, ‘I’m worried. I don’t feel right. I am 85 percent at best.’ I said, ‘Stack, if you are not right, you should not play. It’s your decision. But if you can get through the game … and help other guys get shots, it would be a big help to us.”

Stackhouse responded. He missed 10 of 11 3-pointers, but the one he made tied the score at 90.

Frank Hughes

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