Shawn Kemp, former NBA player, arrested after a shooting in Washington State | Sports

Former SuperSonics stars Gary Payton (L) and Shawn Kemp (R) in a 2021 image.
Former SuperSonics stars Gary Payton (L) and Shawn Kemp (R) in a 2021 image.Ted S. Warren (AP)

The Tacoma Police Department, in the State of Washington, has arrested this Wednesday Shawn Kemp, a popular former NBA player and star of the missing Seattle SuperSonics. The 53-year-old former athlete was arrested after a shooting involving two vehicles, but did not leave any injuries or fatalities. One of the cars fled the scene, but authorities recovered a weapon from the scene. The police have not confirmed, until tonight, the identity of the detainee. The local press, including The Seattle Times, ensures that it is the star who played in the professional league for 14 seasons. The detainee’s name and his birthday coincide with those of the athlete.

There are few details about what happened. The police version indicates that the shooting occurred minutes before 2:00 p.m. in a city parking lot, located south of Seattle. Kemp was taken into custody at the scene, although authorities have not explained whether the recovered weapon belonged to the basketball player, who was a key player in making the Sonics one of the best teams of the 1990s. His offensive power and dunking made him an icon of that decade, in which he was summoned six times to the All Star. In 1996, together with Gary Payton, he reached the NBA final, but the duo was defeated by Michael Jordan’s Bulls in six games.

Shawn Kemp has been a businessman dedicated to legal marijuana for a couple of years. Washington State has legalized the substance since November 2012. The former athlete has opened a couple of dispensaries in the Seattle metropolitan area. The first opened its doors in 2020 and the second did so in mid-February. The walls of the business are decorated with murals of the player himself, who wore the number 40 on his bib, along with Payton, Bruce Lee and Jimi Hendrix. In stores they offer more than 3,000 products. Kemp is one of the few African-Americans in Washington who owns the dispensary’s operating licenses. Only 4% of the 1,000 that exist are from black businessmen. Police have not indicated whether the legal drug played any role in the dispute.

Kemp made his professional basketball debut at the age of 20 in the 1989-1990 season and without having gone through college sports. After the final against Chicago, he asked the team’s management for a transfer. He thus ended up in Cleveland, where he had three great seasons. In 1998-1999 he averaged 20 points per game for the Cavs, one of his best numbers in his career. With the new century he tried a new jersey. He returned to the West Coast, where he played for the Portland Trailblazers. The Sonics, which were owned by Starbucks, were sold in 2006. Two years later, the team was transformed into the Oklahoma Thunder.

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