Smells Like Team Spirit: On the Potential Return of the Seattle Supersonics

Posted: January 10, 2013 in Sports
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Yesterday something great happened in the NBA.  No, LeBron didn’t retire.  No, LeBron’s Mom didn’t have a press conference announcing that she had been having a tempestuous love affair with another of Bron-Bron’s homeys.  (*Author’s note: can you tell I’m not much of a LeBron fan?  Also, if I had to put odds on it. . .I’d bet Mario Chalmers. )

What happened was the announcement that Seattle, Washington might be getting an NBA franchise back.  Why do I, a landlocked Midwesterner who’s only been to Seattle one time, give even a partial damn?  Allow me to explain. . .

1) I love the NBA and firmly believe that it would be in the league’s best interests to get team back to Seattle.

2)  Gary Payton and Sean Kemp.

When I first started to care about NBA basketball it was because of my neighbor Isak Jensen.  He had moved in about a half a block away into a duplex with his mother and he was a rabid, feverish, NBA junkie.  We would get together and watch NBA games, play NBA Jam TE into the wee hours of the night and we would frequently head down to our local sports memorabilia store, Bases Loaded, in the hopes of finding a true diamond in the rough in the 25 cent-per-card bin of NBA cards that the store had available in the back corner.  This time in my life coincided with the Bulls astonishing 72-10 run, my burgeoning love of playing basketball myself (*Author’s note: you start playing organized basketball at about the 3rd grade level in my hometown), and the rise of the ultra-cool, ultra-fun-to-watch Seattle Supersonics.

You couldn’t help but be pulled in by the bright green and white uniforms.  The cool team name delighted me to no end.  And then, of course, there was Gary Payton and Sean Kemp.  As I was devouring anything on the NBA I could read during this time period, I would pore over my NBA Encyclopedia for hours at a time while waiting for my freshly-called in requests of “Gangster’s Paradise” or “This is How We Do It” to play on my local radio station, and one of the books that I came across was called Dynamic Duos.  In those tattered pages it outlined two up-and-coming NBA stars that had elevated a franchise to new heights in the ’90s.

Payton and Kemp.

Out of context it sounds kind of like a law firm or a cardboard manufacturing company, but if you ever saw these two play together it was immensely entertaining.  Gary Payton was, simply put, the king of talking shit.  He would sneer and grimace, challenge your manhood and swear, all while playing airtight defense that earned him the nickname, “The Glove.”  He ran the point guard position with electrifying speed, averaging 19.3 ppg, 7.5 assists, and nearly 3 steals per game during the year I first started caring about those kinds of things.

I loved his attitude.  Payton looked, and acted, very nearly exactly like his clone-from-the-future DMX.  No, seriously.  Check it out.

Gary Payton/DMX?

And who, you might be asking was singing backup to Payton during his Ruff Ryder’s Anthem?  None other than Shawn Kemp.  Kemp came to the NBA straight out of high school (*Author’s note: which didn’t used to happen all that much back in the day, believe it or not) and at the height of his prowess on the court he was pretty much Blake Griffin.  During the ’95-’96 season he averaged 19.6 ppg, 11.4 rebounds, and at least 3 moments in each game where he would dunk so hard it would resonate in your chest like you were laying on a sub-woofer.

(*Author’s note: watch, in particular, dunks 3,2,and 1.  Un-frigging-real.)

That’s the kind of stuff that Kemp could do.  That’s the kind of things I loved about watching the Sonics play.

Sure, Kemp devolved into an alcoholic cautionary tale who ended up with 7 kids by 6 different women.  And yes, when he came packed on pounds and drug-ass all over the court in his later years he played more like “The Rain Man” than “The Reign Man”.  At his peak, though, Kemp was an all-time great.

3)  Washington now has legalized weed and an NBA franchise?

Let me be the first to congratulate the Seattle Supersonics on their new head coach. . .Phhhhiiiiillllll Jacksooooooon!  Sorry, Brooklyn.  Sorry, probably-firing-D’Antoni-at-season’s-end Lakers.  You know what city has caught Phil’s bloodshot eye.

Let me also be the first to sympathize with Seattle Supersonic fans on their next player to check into rehab.  DeMarcus “Boooooooogie” Cousins!  No player needs a state with legalized marijuana less than DeMarcus Cousins.

4) The guy who’s potentially buying the team?  His name is Chris Hansen.

So what if it’s not that Chris Hansen.  I don’t care if he makes his living busting pervs on MSNBC’s To Catch a Predator or not.  It’ll be worth it’s weight in gold in stupid jokes.  Can’t you just see it now:

Fade in:

An empty NBA Locker room.  In walks Jimmer Fredette, carrying a six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade.  He looks antsy.  A little concerned, but still eager.

Jimmer: Hello?

The owner of the team, Chris Hansen, comes walking out from the showers.  Jimmer’s eyes bulge and he, incredibly, turns another shade whiter.

Hansen: Why don’t you take a seat, Jimmer.

5)  I’ve already started Googling “Detlef Schrempf throwback jerseys.”


  1. […] detailed my lost-love with the Seattle Supersonics in a breathless post from earlier this year, when the news first broke that the Maloof brothers had finally found a way to cash out their hand […]

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