SEATTLE — Back in the 1992 N.B.A. playoffs, poor Alton Lister stepped between Shawn Kemp and the basket, back when Kemp sprinted and jumped as if from another planet, back when he and the SuperSonics made the spectacular routine. Kemp approached, elevated and jammed home a signature dunk for Seattle sports.
The thunder before the Thunder, as it were.
If you grew up around Seattle, if you owned a Dana Barros jersey, if you knew your Silent Assassin (Dale Ellis) from your X-Man (Xavier McDaniel), your Toms (Chambers), Dicks (Drive-In) and Lennys (Wilkens), you remember that dunk. It helped define an era when anything seemed possible, an era of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, of Microsoft and Starbucks, of Kemp and Gary Payton. You probably even remember Lister, a SuperSonic himself from 1986 to 1989.
At Kemp’s place, the neighborhood joint Oskar’s Kitchen, mere blocks from the arena where he once starred, locals ask the proprietor about that dunk all the time, but especially now, with the N.B.A. poised to return — or so we hope.