Sonics Update

  • Saturday, November 4, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

Herald Staff

  • Opponent: Orlando Magic

  • When: 4:30 p.m., Monday

  • Where: Two Magic Place, Orlando, Fla.

  • TV: KONG (Ch. 6/16)

  • Radio: KJR (950 AM)

  • Familiar face: He’s a few years older and a few pounds heavier than his last appearance in a Sonics uniform, but the smile is still unmistakably Shawn Kemp.

    It seems hard to believe that it’s been 11 years since Kemp made his rookie debut for the Sonics after being picked in the first round of the 1989 NBA draft. Kemp, a schoolboy sensation from Elkahart, Ind., originally opted to play college basketball at Kentucky, but eventually withdrew from school and opted for the pros. He was 19 years old when he first suited up for the Sonics.

    Six seasons later, Kemp was a four-time All-Star and a starting forward in the NBA Finals. His tenure in Seattle ended unhappily in the 1997 offseason when Kemp made it known he wanted out. He was subsequently traded to Cleveland in a three-team deal that netted Vin Baker for the Sonics.

    After three seasons in Cleveland, Kemp was swapped to the Blazers last summer in another three-team deal.

    Gary Payton is the only player still with the team who was a Kemp teammate in 1997, his last with the Sonics. “Me and Gary still remain friends,” Kemp said. “But (coming back to Seattle) really doesn’t affect me that much.

    “It’s not as big a deal as it probably was the first couple (of seasons). I really don’t think that much about it. It’s amazing to me, this long afterwards, that I still receive so much attention. It just lets you know what you did, but at the same time it’s been so long it still surprises me.”

    When Kemp entered Saturday’s contest for the first time, he was booed loudly, which he had anticipated before the game. “With Portland being so close (to Seattle), it’s a rivalry game so you expect the boos,” he said. “That’s just part of it.”

    Though he no longer has a home in Seattle, Kemp still has friends in the area and occasionally comes to visit in the offseason. “My connections here still remain strong with the friends I have,” he said.

  • Barry update: Seattle guard Brent Barry, who suffered a sprained left ankle in a team workout Tuesday in Vancouver, missed his third straight game on Saturday and is expected to miss at least two more.

    Barry “is getting better,” Sonics coach Paul Westphal said, but still will not be joining the team for the two-game Florida leg of a five-game East Coast road trip that opens Monday in Orlando. The hope is that Barry, who will stay back in Seattle for further treatment, can join the team midway through the road swing, perhaps Thursday in Charlotte, Westphal said.

  • Don’t remind me: Portland guard Damon Stoudamire rolled his eyes when asked if he had seen Saturday’s Washington-Arizona football game. Stoudamire attended Arizona from 1991-95. Arizona won’t be going to the Rose Bowl, but Stoudamire said he still has hopes for Oregon or Oregon State. He is a Portland native.

  • In the crowd: Some familiar faces were in courtside seats for Saturday’s game. Former Sonic and Blazer Detlef Schrempf, who retired in the offseason, had a seat behind the Portland bench. Blazers owner and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen was seated beneath one of the baskets, joined by Blazers and Sonics president Bob Whitsitt. And seated in his usual courtside seat was Pearl Jam bass player Jeff Ament – the rock group plays KeyArena concerts tonight and Monday night.

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