Unbelievable excitement ensues as two Seattleites prepare for a baby!

Thursday, July 07, 2005

McMillan leaves Seattle

Nate McMillan says hello to Portland as Paul Allen looks on.

Ironically, I was driving to Portland tonight when, after switching the radio away from the Mariners being pounded by the Royals, the broadcast of the Seattle Storm being devastated by the Phoenix Mercury was interrupted by the news that Nate McMillan is leaving the Sonics after being drafted by the team 19 years ago to be the new Trailblazers head coach.

Even hours later, I'm still a bit in shock - this is news that I totally didn't expect. I expected Nate to flirt with the Blazers and use any offer from them as a bargaining chip - not to actually sign with them.

As I'm beginning to come out of shock, I find that I'm juggling a bunch of emotions. I'm going to try to sort them out here.

Nate's time as a player and/or coach in Seattle had to come to an end sometime. All coaches eventually move on (with the evident exception of Jerry Sloan), and rarely are the circumstances pretty.

So really, this opportunity is no worse than any other to recognize Nate's role in the last two decades of this franchise. Nate was never a star, but his heady, intelligent play, his tough defense, and his hustle made him an important contributor from the beginning right through to the end of his career.

It's easy to overlook the job he did mentoring Gary Payton from a brash and unpolished rookie into a likely Hall of Famer; or to lose the fact that for most of his career he was an underrated playmaker and a terrific defender; or to forget that McMillan's do-everything versatility at three positions helped the Sonics achieve great success in the mid-90s (and was greatly missed when hobbled); or to ignore McMillan's solid record as a young coach in coaxing success out of a rebuilding team with a transient roster - at least until 2003-2004.

Throughout it all, he's been classy, upstanding, and an example of what is possible for those willing to work hard. As a player and a coach, he has embodied and demanded effort, hustle, and good defense.

When I'm in this frame of mind, I'm happy for Nate that after a good season and a job well-done that he's getting a very nice contract.

At the same time, I just can't get over the thought - what exactly is Nate thinking?

This is long - the rest is here:


Anonymous Heiromymus Bosch said...

Hey, you're in PDX right now! I suggest, as a display of your shock, sadness, and dismay, that you travel immediately to the Rose Garden and pee on the east entrance.

11:15 PM

Anonymous Chone Figgins said...

This is old! OLD!

1:25 PM


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