Kemp’s return to basketball cut short


MONTEGRANARO, Italy — Former NBA all-star Shawn Kemp’s return to basketball ended before it started after Italian club Montegranaro Premiata broke off his one-year contract a week before the season starts.

Kemp spent nine days in Italy training with the club and playing in three pre-season games, then returned to the United States to check on his home in Houston, Texas, after Hurricane Ike and didn’t return.

“I am very sorry for my inability to return to the club in a timely manner due to personal issues,” Kemp wrote in a letter posted on the team’s website Saturday. “I’m very sorry that these unforeseen circumstances have resulted in the club’s understandable decision.”

The 38-year-old Kemp had not played since 2003 and has had legal problems since then.

In 2005, he was arrested for possessing small amounts of cocaine and marijuana in his truck outside Seattle, Washington. He was also arrested in 2006 in Houston for possessing less than 60 grams of marijuana.

Kemp averaged 14.6 points and 8.4 rebounds during his 14-year NBA career with Seattle, Cleveland, Portland and Orlando. In 1996, he led Seattle to its first Western Conference championship since 1979, before losing to Chicago in the NBA finals.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.