08-15-2001, 12:56 PM
This is an old article, but after I heard something on the radio this morning saying Shawn Kemp has lost to this date 45 pounds, I started looking on the internet for a story about him. This was the most recent. I'm glad to hear he's doing well, I use to like him before he put on that weight, but it sounds like he's trying to get back to where he once was.
June 19, 2001
Jim Beseda of The Oregonian staff
If the Trail Blazers' season was a case of problem-ridden underachievement, Shawn Kemp was Exhibit A. Overweight and beset by drug addiction, the six-time All-Star was of little help even before he left the team to seek treatment late in the regular season.
As Kemp works out twice daily in Houston, trying to get into shape and to rehabilitate his image, his agent, Tony Dutt, is doing the talking for him. And Dutt said Monday his client is eager to start playing again.
Dutt said Kemp isn't ready to publicly discuss what he has been through since he volunteered to enter the NBA's drug rehabilitation program in April.
Those comments, Dutt said, probably will have to wait for the start of training camp in October.
Until then, Kemp is doing speed work, lifting weights and playing basketball at the Westside Tennis Club in Houston, hoping to resurrect a career that crash-landed after the three-way trade that sent Brian Grant to Miami and brought Kemp to Portland from Cleveland.
"Shawn made a comment the other day he wished the season started tomorrow," Dutt said from Houston. "He's very excited about the upcoming season and his future with the Trail Blazers.
"Personally, I'm very proud of where he's at right now. He's happy again, and that's something he hadn't been for quite some time. It's good to hear his voice and the excitement of playing ball again and having fun with it again."
Kemp's first season with the Blazers was marked by inconsistent play and erratic behavior off the floor. He played in 68 games, starting three, but was never comfortable in his role as a backup to Rasheed Wallace. He was criticized throughout the season for being overweight and out of shape, and was fined by the Blazers twice -- once for missing an exhibition game in Los Angeles against the Clippers, then for missing a Dec. 19 practice because he overslept.
Those things will follow Kemp, 31, into training camp this fall, and apparently he accepts that. Dutt said Kemp has adopted a new outlook as well as a willingness to change.
"That's what I'm most proud of," Dutt said. "Fifty people can tell you there's a problem, but until you realize it yourself, you're not going to see a difference. Everything right now is very positive.
"Shawn feels he has a lot to prove yet. He doesn't want people to feel sorry for him. He wants them to, I guess, more than anything, understand that he's normal. He's working hard every day to be the player that he used to be."
Sources familiar with Kemp's situation have said he played much of last season at about 300 pounds but now has his weight down to about 285 -- and dropping.
"All I know is he's in good shape, and to get in good shape, you've got to continually drop the weight," Dutt said. "He wants people to quit talking about his weight, and there's only one way to do that, and that's to lose it."
Dutt couldn't shed any light on the Blazers' six-week-old coaching search, either.
"Whoever gets that job is getting a nice group of talent," Dutt said. "The pieces are there. That being said, there's a lot of pressure that comes with it. You've just got to get the right guy, and I'm glad I'm not the one making that decision."
Ask not what you can do for your country but ask what you can do for THE KID!