SEATTLE— Kevin Durant hoisted 62 shots and scored 63 points, and played all but 15 seconds in 51 minutes of game time.
All that, and he still had time to pose for pictures and sign autographs when his car was surrounded by fans as he tried to leave.
If there was any questioning if Seattle still loves Durant, it was put to rest Sunday.
“I just want to say I miss you guys,” Durant told a crammed small-college gym filled with about 3,000 fans, many in Durant's old Seattle SuperSonics jersey. “Thank you for the warm welcome. I can't wait to come back.”
Durant took part in the Jamal Crawford Summer Pro-Am in Seattle on Sunday. It was his first time back in Seattle in a basketball capacity since the SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008. He was the NBA Rookie of the Year in Seattle in the 2007-08 season and continues to have an affinity for his first professional city.
Durant tried to slip away from the gym quietly, but fans found his SUV and surrounded it nearly an hour after the game ended. Instead of forcing his way through, Durant stopped, signed autographs and posed for pictures from the backseat of his vehicle.
Shortly after his game ended, Durant tweeted, “I love and miss Seattle.”
The league organized by Crawford has seen its share of special guest appearances in the past and there are even rumors of a Blake Griffin appearance in the coming weeks. But nothing might top Durant, considering the circumstances of how he left and how Seattle remains important to him. Durant has been seen before in hats representing Seattle, including a retro SuperSonics hat during this year's NBA playoffs.
Durant reached out to Crawford to try and figure out a way to make an appearance. A summer of waiting finally came to fruition Sunday as 3,000 fans packed a small-college gym to see Durant, Crawford and other NBA players put on a show.