Thursday, March 23, 2006

Shawn Kemp

Word on the street is that one of my favorite childhood basketball players, Shawn Kemp, is eyeing a comeback. Kemp, now 36, apparently has slimmed down to a managable 270 pounds and claims that all of his past problems are behind him, so he is ready to give it a whirl and return to the hardwood.

While working for the Supersonics a couple of years ago, after Kemp had retired from basketball, occasionally I would see The Reign Man in the arena. I'm not someone who is very impressed by celebrities or athletes. I saw my fair share of great NBA players around Key Arena and it never made me very excited. But everytime I saw Kemp walk into the arena my heart would flutter and it would make my day. I nearly lost it when he yelled down to us from the balcony "hey guys, nice to see you again!" Only two other guys got me fired up like Kemp did when I saw them in the arena: when I realized I was standing next to Dominique Wilkins and when Michael Jordan got off the bus no more than ten feet from me.

But Kemp has had nothing but problems over the years. From fathering hundreds (ok, maybe not that many) of illegitamate kids to alcohol to drugs, Kemp has messed up so many times it isn't even funny. It is really hard to feel too optimistic about a successful comeback.

But I'll still root for him. Nothing would make me happier than to see Kemp make a comeback and play at even an average level. And would there be a better team than the Supersonics to take on such a project. They have nothing to lose, their season is a wash already and lets be honest, they don't look too tough for next year either. Why not give Kemp a shot. They will sell some extra tickets, sell a ton of jerseys and maybe rediscover a great basketball player in the process.

If only they could get Gary Payton to throw him some picture perfect lobs too. That would be perfect.



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