• Sympathy but no surrender -- Sonics fans rally to take Sacramento's team

    By: Monique Ming Laven


    SEATTLE - Shawn Kemp always played hard against Kevin Johnson in the NBA -- and he doesn't mind playing against him FOR the NBA.

    "I do not," Kemp said when asked if he felt badly for Johnson -- his fellow former All Star and current mayor of Sacramento.

    "I didn't have any feelings when I played against him and I don't have any feelings for him now."

    Sonics fans had a little more sympathy for their Kings counterparts tonight at a rally on Capitol Hill. Hundreds crowded into the Neumo's nightclub for a rally and concert to show support for Hansen's investment group. They upped their already record offer to buy the Kings by $75 million - to $625 million - over the weekend.

    The Maloofs, the team's current owners, reportedly threaten to refuse to sell to anyone but Hansen.

    "It's only been a few times my spirit's been broken," Kemp said. "But Mr. Hansen -- he always raises my spirits with his decisions."

    And tonight, without a doubt, Hansen holds all the fans hopes. His face appeared on T-shirts labeled "HERO." And young fans standing in line could be overheard repeating, "Hansen's my man. He's THE man."

    Lifelong Sonics fan Dawn Welch heard about Hansen's big money moves over the weekend, "When he said, 'I'm not quitting,' I said, 'I'm not either.'" She says she wishes another city wouldn't have to lose their team. She remembers feeling betrayed by former owner Clay Bennett, who she says lied and pretended to want to keep the team in Seattle while scheming about a way to move them, but Hansen's different. "What he's doing, he's made no secret."

    Another fan going by the name Duranged Pitt says he wants Seattle to put up a statue of Hansen in honor of his fight for the team. He empathizes with Kings fans -- to a point. "I mean it's kind of bitter if they're going to leave," he admitted, "but at the same time, it's business."

    Brothers Adam and Jason Kardonsky were more plainly self-interested, "I'm not from Sacramento, I'm from Seattle and I want our Sonics back."

    We should find out this week. The NBA owners are scheduled to vote Wednesday on the proposed sale and relocation of the Kings to Seattle. KIRO 7 will have live coverage from their meeting in Dallas.

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