It’s been over a decade since Kevin Durant played a game in Seattle. An April 13 of 2008, the then-SuperSonic Durant put up 19 points in a home game against the Dallas Mavericks. Three days later Durant was in Oracle Arena to play the Golden State Warriors in the final game of his rookie campaign - and the final game the SuperSonics would play.
The organization moved after that year, and became the Oklahoma City Thunder. And now, on Friday, Durant will return to his original NBA city, as the Warriors play the Sacramento Kings in a preseason matchup at KeyArena, former home of the SuperSonics.
Not surprisingly, Durant had some thoughts on bringing basketball back to a city that he has always shown love towards. In an interview with ESPN, Durant said, “It’s a basketball city. It’s a sports town. ... They have a good representation of basketball in the NBA from Seattle-born players, Washington state-born players. And I feel like that whole brand deserves an NBA team. Just like the Golden State Warriors deserve a team or the Los Angeles Lakers deserve a team, Seattle is that same way. [A team] has that same type of impact in the community. So [we have] a lot of time in life before this whole thing is over, and I’m sure we’ll see a team before it’s time.”
Durant is right that Seattle is a basketball town. That’s apparent at the youth and college level, as players such as Isaiah Thomas have come from the city. It’s also apparent in the WNBA, where the Seattle Storm - who play at KeyArena and were crowned the WNBA champions last month - draw large crowds of terrific fans.
It seems only a matter of time before Seattle has an NBA team again, whether that’s through expansion or relocation. But until then, they at least get a preseason game. And, in Durant’s words, “Even though it’s just a preseason game and it’s one game, hopefully we can give them a nice little show for the night. But I’m looking forward to going back and playing in front of that crowd again.”