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It was April, 2008.
Now it can be told.
KING5 Photographer Mike Bachety and I had just finished a couple of hectic days covering the NBA Board of Governors Meetings in New York City. By now, we all know what happened there. You can watch the excellent documentary @sonicgate if you’re not up to speed.
The NBA had approved the move of the Sonics to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder.
Hours after David Stern made the announcement, Mike and I went out to dinner in Midtown Manhattan. After a long meal, we started strolling back to our hotel.
As we were walking, I looked over across the street at a corner which was hopping with activity. I noticed a tall lanky man in a hoodie, and couldn’t believe my eyes.
“Mike,” I said, “I think that’s Durant.”
Here we were, hours after the move announced, on a random corner in Midtown Manhattan, and there he was.
We walked over.
“Kevin, it’s Chris Daniels from KING5 in Seattle,” I said. “We met before at Rainier Beach High School.”
“Yeah, you’re the one who was asking me about the team moving. I remember. What are you doing here?” he replied.
“What are YOU doing here?” I said as Mike looked on.
“I’m here for the Jordan Classic,” Durant countered.
“So you don’t know?”
“I’m here for the Board of Governors Meeting. They voted to move you to Oklahoma City.”
“What? Was Clay there?”
And that was how he found out his career path was changing: On a random street corner, in Midtown Manhattan.
Mike and I talked with him for a few more minutes, about the Sonics, Greenlake, and his time in Seattle. He was a kid then, who had charisma and intelligence to go along with his talent.
He seems to be enjoying OKC now, but as we found out earlier this year, he’ll always have a soft spot for the Emerald City.
Durant on Sonics: “I wish it didn’t go down the way it did”