Kevin Durant, NBA greeted by cheers in return to Seattle

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SEATTLE — The reminiscences got here again rapidly for Kevin Durant as he entered KeyArena on Friday night time. The 30-year-old celebrity remembered strolling down the identical walkway he used as a rookie for the Seattle Supersonics in 2007. He appreciated the loud cheers he received each in pregame warmups and after being introduced within the staring lineups — the two-time NBA Finals MVP had Seattle followers rocking as he walked to the ground in these introductions sporting a Shawn Kemp Sonics jersey.

“I believe each NBA participant at this level is aware of that Seattle wants a basketball workforce,” Durant stated earlier than the sport. “It is clearly excessive of our heads, however [we’ll] proceed to indicate help for town of Seattle. I believe that is what all people desires to do.”

Durant reiterated that message previous to tip-off whereas addressing the sellout crowd. He first shouted out the WNBA champion Seattle Storm, including that he was hopeful an NBA workforce would return to town quickly. It was an emotional night time for a lot of in attendance as Seattle hosted an NBA recreation for the primary time in over 10 years for the reason that Sonics relocated and have become the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr walked to his pregame information convention sporting a inexperienced Sonics T-shirt, repeating the identical message he mentioned a number of occasions upfront of this recreation: The NBA ought to be again in Seattle.

“I’ve at all times cherished the Sonics model, I’ve cherished town,” Kerr stated. “The fan base was at all times an unimaginable place to play. It jogged my memory lots of Oracle really, coming to KeyArena once I performed. Simply sort of natural. The followers right here love basketball, it is a scorching mattress with lots of nice gamers who come from Seattle. So I am hoping the Sonics return some day. I suppose that is my manner of supporting that trigger.”

Seattle followers got here prepared for a celebration on Friday night time as previous Sonics jerseys popped up everywhere in the enviornment. Seattle sports activities royalty together with NBA Corridor of Famers Invoice Russell, Gary Payton and Lenny Wilkens sat courtside together with Storm stars Sue Hen and Breanna Stewart. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson additionally sat courtside standing and applauded whereas Seahawks coach Pete Carroll sat only a few seats away. Former Sonics ahead Detlef Schermpf obtained a raucous ovation previous to the sport when he unzipped his hoodie on the video display screen to disclose an t-shirt with an previous Sonics emblem.

“I believe it is particular as a result of it brings again reminiscences of what basketball was right here,” Wilkens stated earlier than the sport. “And definitely profitable a championship right here leaves a legacy and it is a legacy I do not really feel now we have ever misplaced.”

Kerr and his gamers and coaches spent the morning on the Seahawks facility assembly with Carroll and his gamers on their tour of Seattle.

“We have been very impressed by their strategy to the sport, their strategy to observe,” Durant stated of his time with the Seahawks. “Simply the general IQ it’s a must to have for the sport of soccer, I believe all of us can relate to essential that’s.”

Wilkens and lots of different gamers and coaches are hoping that Friday night time’s recreation and the celebration of basketball that occurred will remind the NBA simply how passionate the Seattle space is about having one other workforce to name their very own.

“There’s an awakening so to talk,” Wilkens stated. “However folks have been followers for a very long time, they simply have not had a spot to channel it. So that they get upset they do not have a workforce right here that they’ll root for themselves. So definitely tonight ought to give a sign I’d assume.”

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