Sonics fans watch NBA Finals with bitterness
Fans at Shawn Kemp's restaurant watch Game 2 after an afternoon rally for a new Seattle arena.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Prep sports gear
All of the TVs at Oskar's Kitchen were tuned to the NBA Finals pregame show.
It was a few minutes after 5:30 p.m., and many of the city's Sonics fans were still celebrating what was and mourning what wasn't — hoping during an arena rally at Occidental Park that the NBA might one day come back.
The speakers in Shawn Kemp's bar echoed with the voices of Magic Johnson, Michael Wilbon and Jon Barry, who were breaking down what to expect in Game 2 between Oklahoma City and Miami.
The first green shirts trickled into the bar shortly after 6.
A pair of Sonics fans grabbed a high-top table in the corner. One of them said, "Go, Heat." His friend replied, "I don't want anyone to win."
When Miami forward Shane Battier drained a first-quarter three-pointer to put the Heat up 16-2, someone else shouted "Go, Heat."
Eric Wilkins, who grew up rooting for the Sonics, was eating a pita pizza and a salad. Wilkins had been at the rally and decided to stop by Oskar's for dinner.
"This is the most NBA basketball I've seen since (the Sonics left)," said Wilkins, who still remembers watching at his grandmother's house as the Sonics won the 1979 championship.
Throughout the game, fans wearing Sonics gear filtered in and out of the restaurant. One woman was wearing a yellow shirt with Oklahoma City owner Clay Bennett's face on the front. There was a screw poking out of his head.
Early in the third quarter, someone shouted, "Let's go, Heat!" He tried to start a chant. Then he apologized.
"Sorry," he said. "Bitter Sonics fan."
Mason Kelley: 206-464-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org