Sonics Legend Shawn Kemp Brings Basketball Back to Seattle With IBL Team

IBL.com

With Seattle's NBA return still up in the air, Sonics legend Shawn Kemp is making sure fans don't remain starved for competition much longer. The six-time all-star is part of an ownership group that will bring an IBL team to the city this coming summer.

It remains to be seen whether or not NBA basketball will return to Seattle sooner than later, but Sonics legend Shawn Kemp is making sure fans don't have to wait too long for at least some form of competition.

The six-time NBA all-star and wife Marvena Kemp are bringing basketball back to Seattle after all, serving as the backbone of the ownership group behind the Seattle Flight, the International Basketball League's newest squad.

The Flight will first play five games this coming season against some of the IBL's top contending teams. Only playing in a portion of contests through the upcoming season, such a trial run will help determine market visibility. The organization will subsequently be integrated as one of the IBL's full-time teams sometime within the next three years.

Having previously aimed to fill basketball voids in some of the smaller markets across the United States, there's no doubt that setting up camp in Seattle will prove to have a winning combination for the IBL. Feeding the need and hunger for basketball in a city starved for competition again will certainly work in the league's favor. Planting one of Seattle's favorite sons (Kemp has since his playing days moved to the city full-time, even opening up a restaurant to call his own there) right in the middle of it all as face of the franchise doesn't hurt either.

Just as they continue to fill needs in basketball-absent cities across the nation, IBL competition takes place during the otherwise slow offseason for NBA, NBA D-League, and NCAA ball. The league has previously welcomed NBA veterans like Dennis Rodman and Lamond Murray to their courts over the years, but much like the NBA D-League, is also committed to the development and nurturing of some of the sport's top and/or perhaps untapped up and coming talents.

Over the next few weeks and months, the IBL will begin to welcome (or welcome back) NBADL prospects (and perhaps a big league veteran or two hoping to embark on the comeback trail) who wish to continue hitting the hardwood during the spring and summer months to keep themselves in game-shape come Summer League and/or training camp time. What's more, last fall, the league saw a handful of its alumni eligible for the NBADL Draft. That same trend only stands to continue next season as well.

For promising young guns looking to take part in some worthwhile competition this offseason, there's no doubt that Seattle stands tall as a more than desirable enough destination, especially considering all the potential NBA return chatter. The ability to potentially work out with Kemp and/or pick his brain for playing advice is sure to win this team some brownie points as well, when it comes to recruiting.

For more information of this development, click here or see part of the league's press release below:

April 11, 2013 - Vancouver, Wash. - With the return of the NBA to Seattle in limbo, the International Basketball League is bringing its own brand of professional basketball to the city with the addition of the Seattle Flight, a team backed by former Sonics legend Shawn Kemp and wife Marvena Kemp.

The Flight team, which will mark the IBL's return to the Seattle market for the first time since 2009, will participate as a branding team in the league for the 2013 season, which will permit the team to play five regular season games against top-caliber full season teams. The IBL's branding team concept allows new teams to participate in a portion of the regular season in order to determine the viability of their market prior to becoming a full season team within three years.

Shawn Kemp's accolades are well known, but his wife Marvena's are less so. Marvena has over two decades of basketball experience at all levels, particularly in the area of event hosting. She has been co-director, along with Cliff Brown, of the NCAA-sanctioned Northwest College Summer League, the only of its kind in the west, and has also organized a number of pro-am basketball tournaments, most notably the annual Reignman Classic.

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