HOOPS CHATTER: Scorekeeper Bill Olden stopped by with jokes, “Have you been sitting here since September?” He has worked the stats for the Sonics for 40 years and we’ve both been with the Storm since their inception in 2000. He said he went through withdrawal over the winter. The worst, apparently, was felt by his wife who enjoyed having him away for 41 nights. “She wanted me to get a job delivering pizza at night so she could have control of the remote,” he said with a laugh. A lot of other employees, who used to work for both sides, are debating about whether a NBA team would return if the place was renovated. Consensus? No.
Back at KeyArena for another season. I still know the gatekeepers, who are employed by Seattle Center and therefore not affected by the Sonics’ departure, so I was able to slip in as usual without any changes.
But there are plenty of tweaks awaiting fans for tonight’s exhibition opener against Sacramento. Courtside folks will be greeted by a wall of nicely framed photos of the ownership group, Force 10 Hoops, F Lauren Jackson holding her MVP trophy, a championship picture, PG Sue Bird on draft day, and inaugural coach Lin Dunn.
Since the Team Shop is closed, the Storm setup a merchandise-area outside of the doors that originally served as a passageway in between the store and arena. The sweetest change (for me) is HD flat screen monitors for media. I’m watching ESPN now (some feature on LeBron James and Kobe Bryant’s personal lives).
I may not need my glasses this season. For so long (and through so many owners), the Sonics never changed the raggedy screens we depend on for stats (OK, we watched a few games and Obama speeches, too). So, I have to thank Force 10 Hoops for giving a nod to us. It’s not a media guide or an iPhone, which the entire coaching staff was outfitted with, but I’ll take it.
On the 10th anniversary note, the Storm is going to select an all-decade team. I’ll have my picks later. I know three, but I wouldn’t put Swin Cash or Sheryl Swoopes on it simply because they didn’t do anything on the court for Seattle. And of course I have a gripe, the team is limiting your selections to 24 players. Anyway, there are also supposed to be a few more surprises, but I didn’t spot them in my early snooping.
It’s another gorgeous day in Seattle — about 70 degrees. I’m guessing the Storm will still draw well, considering it’s an exhibition game. Seattle isn’t reporting any injuries and should play well to start due to starting five proven veterans.
Bird won’t play, however. She’s going to rotate throughout the arena greeting fans. Cash is supposed to do the same, arriving today after flight complications.
Let’s get to it.
Here are your starting lineups:
F Nicole Powell
F Crystal Kelly
C DeMya Walker
G Ticha Penicheiro
G Scholanda Robinson
F Ashley Robinson
F Camille Little
C Janell Burse
G Shannon Johnson
G Katie Gearlds
Tonight’s officials are Scott Twardoski, Penny Davis, and Maj Forsberg.