As our friends at Draft Packs remember, on draft night in 1987, 25 years ago, Scottie Pippen was taken No. 5 overall. Because time has warped our recollections of that night, most probably figure it was Chicago that took him. That was the only NBA team he ever played for up until going to Houston after winning his sixth title in the Windy City. Instead, it was Seattle that took him, and ultimately traded him to the Bulls for… wait for it… Olden Polynice (as well as a second round selections in 1988 or 1989 and the option to exchange first round selections in 1989). The big lumbering center, who’s greatest career achievement was impersonating a police officer, played in over 1,000 career NBA games. But it’s still safe to say this trade helped spark a dynasty. Read More »
The memories are still in Seattle. The team, and the playoff hardware it earned back in the Northwest, is now in Oklahoma City. Yeah, it’s an awkward time to be talking about the best playoff memories of Oklahoma City, which has only been in its new city four years, and when its former city is where all that magic happened. I don’t know how many fans of the Sonics have become full backers of the Thunder, but I can’t imagine it’s a majority. Read More »
By now, I’m sure you’ve seen the videos. In this era of technology, Twitter and 24/7 highlights, you probably heard about it not long after Pau Gasol felt it. It gives you an idea of how we value excitement in sports. The Clippers lost last night, Kobe Bryant hit a game-clinching shot and Andrew Bynum was going to work, and yet this morning it’s been all about Blake Griffin un-manning Gasol twice. As we wrote in Smack, he murdered him early, resuscitated him and then killed him again. Twice in one game he smashed all over the Spaniard. Kendrick Perkins and Timofey Mozgov breathed a sigh of relief somewhere. Read More »
WHERE WAS BLAKE? This year’s dunk contest set itself up for an inevitable disappointment when the league’s preeminent smashing machine decided not to come through for the fans. Last year, despite what you thought of Griffin’s winning performance, he created excitement, a buzz. This year there was none of that, and we were left with some average guys trying to uncover drama by dunking over small celebrities and turning off all the lights. Read More »
Why am I posting this when everyone in the world is talking about Chris Paul? Because Keyon Dooling and Ray Allen are now teammates. According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, the Celtics have acquired Dooling in exchange for a second-round pick. And for those of you that don’t remember, Dooling (Magic) and Allen (Sonics) got into an infamous fight during a game in 2006.
I’ll never forget watching Seattle’s run during the 2005 playoffs. They played the future champs – San Antonio – to a virtual tie in the second round, losing in six games but not before they nearly pushed it to seven. They were a fun team, really one of the last in Seattle to matter. Ray Allen was in his prime as an all-around player, and they gave minutes to a lot of memorable guys. Their front line packed more beef than an offensive line: Danny Fortson, Reggie Evans, Nick Collison and Vitaly Potapenko. But the biggest of them all was Jerome James. In 11 playoff games, he provided us with the first and the last glimpse of the Jerome James that mattered. Read More »
Watching Shawn Kemp in the 1998 NBA Playoffs was like seeing a ghost. Over the course of that season, his first in Cleveland after being shipped out of Seattle, Kemp’s star dimmed considerably. Between his production suffering, his weight gains and Cleveland becoming the J. Cole of NBA teams, slightly boring and monotone, he went from being one of the league’s biggest stars to one of the league’s biggest stars. Whereas he was once playing on NBC every week, Kemp was stuck in a city whose basketball team had one major problem: nobody cared about them. Read More »
While a collection of childhood running buddies, high school teammates, college rivals and NBA counterparts ran up and down the KeyArena court in Seattle last weekend, Brandon Roy sat and watched. It was something of a familiar position for Roy, the three-time NBA All-Star who has missed 52 regular-season games for the Portland Trail Blazers over the past two years due to knee injuries.
And then again, it was unfamiliar: KeyArena hadn’t been host to a game featuring NBA players since 2008, before the Supersonics left the city and moved to Oklahoma City. Roy, who grew up in Seattle and played college ball at the University of Washington, hadn’t played in the Sonics’ gym since his second year in the league. Read More »
So maybe there was a WNBA logo at midcourt. And maybe the crowd of just over 5,000 was about one-fourth of what you’d get on a good night at Staples Center or Madison Square Garden. And maybe the only certified All-Star on either roster was sitting on the bench in street clothes, cradling his 2-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son in his arms instead of a basketball.
But none of those images could dim the fantasy that, for now at least, the NBA was back in Seattle. Read More »