Shawn Kemp eyes comeback, says he's slimmer

Updated: March 23, 2006, 1:02 AM ET
Associated Press

HOUSTON -- Former Seattle SuperSonic and Orlando Magic player Shawn Kemp says he's ready to get back in the game after three years of retirement from the NBA.

Allen Einstein/NBAE via Getty ImagesShawn Kemp, here in the 2003 playoffs, says he's serious about a return to the NBA.

Kemp, 36, retired voluntarily from the Magic in 2003, citing weight issues. During his last NBA season he weighed as much as 320 pounds, but he has slimmed down to 270 pounds through an intensive exercise regime, he said.

"I've sat out this whole season to get in tip top shape to make a comeback," Kemp said in an interview with Houston television station KRIV.

The athlete's Houston-based agent, Tony Dutt, said he felt the weight loss would definitely rekindle Kemp's career.

"I was basically relaying the information the GMs were giving me: 'Until he loses the weight, we don't care if he can score 30 points a game. When he loses the weight, give us a call,"' Dutt said. "So there are going to be some phones ringing."

The former All-Star faced troubles other than weight loss during his career, which began when he was drafted by Seattle in 1989. He took a leave of absence during the 2000-01 season to enter a substance abuse program and violated the league's anti-drug policy three times.

Most recently, a Seattle judge sentenced him in May 2005 to five days of electronic home monitoring, a year's probation and a $440 fine after he pleaded guilty to attempted possession of more than 40 grams of marijuana.

Kemp said those problems were behind him and he was ready to recharge his NBA career with an enthusiastic comeback.

"My love for the game is very, very high," Kemp said. "I've made a living off of this game. I'm not coming back to play basketball for any financial reasons."

"I'm not playing just to make someone's roster. I'm not just playing to make a comeback. My hopes and dreams are to be in the Hall of Fame one day."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press