This past summer the NBA returned to the city of Seattle for the first time in ten years. Seattle hosted a pre-season game between the Golden State and Sacramento Kings at Key Arena, where the Seattle Supersonics used to call home. This game was very significant to Seattle because they drafted Warriors All-Star Kevin Durant with the second pick in the 2007 draft. The next year they would relocate to Oklahoma City and renamed the team now referred to as the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Kevin Durant would play nine seasons in a Thunder’s uniform winning four scoring titles, three consecutively, and helped led his team to NBA Finals in 2011. The Thunder would end up losing to the Miami Heat & LeBron James in five games. In 2016, Durant decided to leave the team in free agency to pursue a title in the Bay Area. He would go on to help them win back to back titles and securing the Finals MVP in both trips to the NBA Finals. This was the Warriors third title in four years.
Before the preseason game against the Kings, Durant came out wearing a Shawn Kemp Jersey. Paying homage to the “Reign Man,” who help led the Sonics to a finals appearance along with “The Glove” Gary Payton in 1996. Durant addressed the crowd.
“First off I want to give a shout out to the Seattle Storm for holding it down and winning a championship. Much Love! I would like to thank you guys for coming out and supporting us. I know it has been a rough ten years the NBA is back in for the night, but hopefully its back forever soon”, said Durant.
Numerous former players, coaches, and other Seattle professional athletes were on in the house to watch the game such as Lenny Wilkins, Slick Watts, Gary Payton, Nate Robinson, Russell Wilson, Bill Russell, Breanna Stewart, and Sue Bird to name a few. The Warriors would go on to win 122-94.
As Durant said, the Seattle Storm have been holding it down for the city of Seattle ever since the Sonics left capturing two WNBA Championships since their departure ten years ago. Sue Bird has been the cornerstone for the franchise since she entered the league as the number one pick out of the University of Connecticut. She has won at every single level dating back to her high school days in the Tri-State.
It was recently announced that the three-time WNBA Champion would be joining the Denver Nuggets front office as a basketball operations associate. Bird is just the latest Women to be hired to an NBA position. Other include Becky Hammon, Jenny Boucek, Nancy Lieberman, Kristi Toliver, and now Sue.
“It was really a perfect match because here they are giving me this amazing opportunity but also understanding that I’m still a player,” said Bird
“I still have a season, and I’m still preparing for that. It’s just, for me personally, the best of both worlds.”
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Kevin Durant about Bird joining the Nuggets front office.
“I’m so happy for Sue. She is a great basketball mind that has played in so many great environments. She has set so many great cultures and will be an asset to the Nuggets”, Durant told me.