Wednesday , Oct , 01 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Accept the End: why former Sonic Shawn Kemp should retire … for good

Love is love, right? If Kemp still loves basketball then lace on the kicks and find a game. It doesn’t matter if that run is stateside or abroad because money isn’t an issue. But Kemp’s comeback is a waste if he’s trying to restore his name. His intentions may be good, but playing in Europe or even making the NBA as a reserve won’t change his past. It can’t …


Accept the End: why former Sonic Shawn Kemp should retire ... for goodStories have a beginning, middle, and end. Shawn Kemp’s story began as a teenager in Seattle, hit the peak/middle when the Sonics pushed the Bulls to six games in the NBA Finals, and, for me, ended when he forced a trade to Cleveland.  

He still posted numbers on bad Cavalier teams, but the ‘Reign Man’ was done. It got worse in Portland. The high-flying forward became a ghost, hiding behind his weight and personal problems. Eventually, the Blazers cut him 25 million dollars to disappear. After one-year in Orlando, he was officially gone by 2003. Game over.

Following a few drug arrests, we heard reports of a comeback. True enough, in July, he signed with Italian club Montegranaro Premiata and then got released before the season started. The reason is a mystery.

Kemp claims he left to check on his Houston home after Hurricane Ike, while the European side dismissed it as a business matter one week before the season started.

Something smells fishy.

So what now for Kemp? Well, if his comeback was about playing basketball, then head to the NBDL, go back to Europe, or find the local ‘Y’.

Love is love, right? If Kemp still loves basketball then lace on the kicks and find a game. It doesn’t matter if that run is stateside or abroad because money isn’t an issue.

But Kemp’s comeback is a waste if he’s trying to restore his name. His intentions may be good, but playing in Europe or even making the NBA as a reserve won’t change his past. It can’t.

Right or wrong, fair or not, we have strong memories. Too much damage was done and Kemp won’t undue anything by playing basketball. We’ve seen his on-court performance before. We remember his prime.

Kemp could, however, restore his name by caring for his kids, speaking out about his past, or mentoring young NBA players. This off-court maturity we haven’t seen before. And it would be powerful. Consider the progress former NFL quarterback and one-time jerk Ryan Leaf made by stepping away from the spotlight, changing his bad behaviour, and working quietly in football.

Perhaps, Kemp should realize moving on is often moving forward. And accepting the end isn’t a bad thing. After all, what comes next is another beginning.

What should Kemp do now? Retire or still try for a comeback? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe the Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of bballchico.