Buried deep in the Pacific Northwest, under Soundgarden albums and Steve Largent jerseys, Ballerball was able to uncover a vast number of writings from Shawn Kemp’s old diary. These are his words.*
January 18, 2000
And the snow was falling in Chicago as it had been for days and I looked at the weather and saw that it wasn’t going to stop and I suppose that is when I shut the shades and the tears began. I sat in my room then, up high. Downtown. Some hotel. I forget the name. Everything’s bleeding together now.
Home Alone was on television soon and I was going to turn that on and attempt to have a good night. I ordered room service, a much-too-expensive burger and fries, and had myself a chocolate milkshake to go along with it. The man who brought it up had a scar on his face and I wanted to ask him how he got it but I refrained. It was none of my business. Boredom was just attacking me.
I stared out the window some more and the flakes were falling sideways and the wind had picked up and the buildings made it whistle. It whipped in off the lake and when I would look down at the ground to see the cars scraping through it all I wondered aloud to the walls what the point of it all was. Why would these people be out in this? What were they trying to gain? What lives did they lead that they were involved in things and with people that would need them to go out on a night so dark, so cold. Big and without mercy the snow dropped onto the grey streets below. Off in the distance I could see the flashing lights of the ferris wheel at Navy Pier and I thought of summer time. What it meant to me. How I’d finally be home, in Seattle, not on this road trip anymore. Not having to deal with Cleveland. I was sick of it there, still am.
I’m having a fine season. Better than most anyone would’ve assumed I would have at 30. Injuries are staying away from me and my bounce is back a little bit, even though the weight is, too. I’d imagine this will be my last competitive year, though. I feel the tank draining. It’s gradual. But when I reach into the well I now feel that there is not much remaining for me to pull out. This is the end, is what I’m saying. I’ll take a check if someone wants to give me one next year, but this is the last year I matter on a basketball floor, and that is a sobering thought.
I’ve always wanted to open an Outback Steakhouse and I think in the offseason I’ll turn the majority of my focus to that. Outback has provided a wonderful place of fun and fellowship to me and my friends over the years and I think I’m the guy to get people excited about going there again. They should be open for lunch. Get some happy hours going there. What’s up with only opening your doors at 3PM? Do better. Have some rules. It can still be just right.
I’d like it to have outdoor seating. Like, a patio, you know? Something that we could string up lights around and have umbrellas over the tables and something soft playing. Some of the lighter De La Soul or Van Morrison or whoever. I’d like to be the type that stays there until late and goes around to all the tables and says hello to everyone. Seems like that’s a good type of boss to be. Our bread will be the best. And we’ll need to figure out a way to where people don’t have to palm the bread like crazy when they’re trying to cut it for the rest of the table. Sometimes you don’t trust homeboy that takes it upon himself to carve up the bread for everyone. Whatever, you don’t need to hear this.
I miss George. Wittman sucks.
It’s time for me to go. I need inspiration. I must go out into the streets and walk around and let the world happen to me.