Sonics legend Shawn Kemp opens pot shop in Seattle

A longed-for sight graced Seattle's Lower Queen Anne neighborhood Friday afternoon, as Sonics fans graced First Avenue decked in green and gold.

However, this had nothing to do with the NBA and everything to do with a brand new enterprise, headlined by Seattle’s own Shawn Kemp.

“Kemp’s Cannabis” opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, delighting those who traveled as far as from Texas to bear witness. Flanked by former teammate, Hall of Famer Gary Payton, Kemp’s elation is palpable.

“It’s taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but we’re excited,” he said.

Previously owning Oskar’s restaurant, Kemp is a strong proponent for the Seattle community, especially considering the current state of the economy.

“Giving people a job during the hardest time this world has ever (been) through. We have plenty of workers here and that’s what this is about.”

Products at Kemp’s Cannabis range from flower and pre-rolls to vaporizers and edibles, with a plethora of paraphernalia to boot. And while plenty of those present were eager to open their wallets and sample the goods, it was clear the NBA stars’ presence was the true draw.

Amidst the ever-familiar echoes of Big Lo starting “Super! Sonics!” chants, Kemp also talks about becoming one of the first black pot shop owners, while acknowledging his new venture is meant for all. “We want to service everybody – it’s about everybody, not just the blacks.”

Whether you’re a fan of the dearly departed Sonics or a fan of the products he now sells, Friday was a reminder that the heart and soul of basketball lives on in Seattle.