Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Clear Night 44° Clear
News >  Features

Author Tells Story Of Supersonics’ Spectacular Crash Of ‘94

Northwest sports fans tend to love their Sonics. Whether you wear Husky blue or Cougar crimson during football season, or even if you root for John Stockton and his Utah Jazz, when it comes to pro basketball, the team of choice is usually Seattle.

Of course, that very nearly changed last year when the Sonics swooned in the playoffs, losing to a Denver team led by a 7-foot-2 center from Zaire named Dikembe Motumbo.

A season that held such promise, ending so suddenly.

That season and all the reasons for the playoff choke are at the center of “Full Court Pressure: A Tumultuous Season with Coach Karl & the Seattle Sonics” (Doubleday, $22.95) by Texas-based writer Curt Sampson.

Typical of such books, Sampson’s study takes us inside Sonic central, bouncing back and forth from trashtalking guard Gary Payton to head coach George Karl.

“The Sonics had won once, in 1979,” Sampson writes in the first chapter. “Fifteen years later an extraordinary collection of athletes came together in Seattle to try to do it again. The assault was led by an alpha dog of a coach, a perplexing bundle of crudity and compassion, a man of Shakespearean temperament, a man who wore no underwear.”

Near the end, after the fold, Sampson quotes someone blaming the quick season end on the new era of overpaid players.

“I wonder if in the back of some minds it didn’t seem worth six more weeks of effort. What’s the money to them, compared to a vacation, or time at home?”

In between these two passages, the story of a modern sports team is unveiled. It’s something you might like to read as another playoff series approaches.

Words from Japan

There are at least two literaryminded events associated with upcoming Japan Week, reports Whitworth College publicist Tim Wolf. Both are free and open to the public.

The first involves kamishibai, traditional Japanese storytelling, in which the tale is told through story boards. A session of kamishibai, along with songs and origami (Japanese paper-folding), will be held between 10 and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington.

The second is a storytelling session that will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the main Spokane Public Library, Main and Lincoln.

The ‘Cedars’ of Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island writer David Guterson, 38, the son of a noted Seattle attorney, says he used Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” as the inspiration for his own awardwinning novel, “Snow Falling on Cedars.”

It was announced Tuesday that Guterson, a first-time novelist, had won the $15,000 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Guterson won over four other nominees, including Eastern Washington University professor Ursula Hegi and nationally known author Joyce Carol Oates.

Guterson, formerly an English teacher at Bainbridge Island High School, used Lee’s 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in his classes.

“Students responded to that book every year in very powerful ways,” Guterson told the Seattle PostIntelligencer. “So I thought that, if I were to write a novel, I would like it to have that kind of impact on people - make them think of their own conduct and attitudes.”

The reader board

Spokane poet Jim McAuley will read his version of “The Stations of the Cross” and other poetry in a special Easter reading at 7 p.m. tonight at the Anaconda Espresso and Poetry, 510 S. Freya. McAuley, a professor of creative writing at Eastern Washington University, will read to the sound of Gregorian chants. Admission is free.

William Dietrich, author of “Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River,” will read from the book at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Auntie’s Bookstore, Main and Washington.

Spokane novelist Chris Crutcher, author of several best-selling young-adult books including “Running Loose” and “Thee Crazy Horse Electric Game,” will read from his latest effort, “Ironman,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Auntie’s Bookstore.

Jonathan Dee, author of “The Liberty Campaign,” will read from his book at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Auntie’s Bookstore.

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Active Person

Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox

Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.