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Saturday, July 22, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Report: Kemp arrested on drug charge

Seattle Times staff reporter

The message board on Shawn Kemp's official Web site started filling up on Friday morning, with posts titled "I can't believe it," "not good," "very sad," and "no more NBA for you!" Indeed, Kemp's attempt to return to the league he left voluntarily three years ago suffered a major blow with his latest drug-related arrest earlier that morning.

The headline at SLAM magazine online: Reign over?

According to several published reports in the Houston area, Kemp was arrested early Friday morning, charged with misdemeanor possession of marijuana, booked into the Harris County jail and released on a $500 bond.

Shortly after midnight, a deputy pulled Kemp over for driving without a license plate, according to the Houston Chronicle. The deputy said he smelled marijuana coming from the car and found less than two ounces of the drug inside of it.

Kemp is scheduled to appear in court in Harris County for arraignment on July 28.

This follows another drug-related incident last year in Shoreline. Kemp was arrested April 4, after police found more than 60 grams of marijuana, 1.2 grams of cocaine, a stun gun, a 9-millimeter handgun, pepper spray and Piņa Colada tobacco wraps among other items in his car.

In an interview with The Times last summer, Kemp denied smoking marijuana that day, but said he knew it was in the car and that it belonged to a longtime friend. He denied any knowledge of the cocaine.

Kemp publicly announced his desire to return to the NBA in the same interview last July. He said he had lost weight, denied previous reports of drinking problems and skirted questions about drug use, spinning the April arrest into the fuel for his comeback.

"I took it like this, man," Kemp said. "I was glad that happened because it really made me focus more."

Kemp retired in 2003 and splits his residence between homes in Houston and Maple Valley. He tried out with the Denver Nuggets in June and was reported to have a tryout scheduled with the Dallas Mavericks in April, but reportedly had some issues getting there. Friends say he was supposed to make up that workout soon.

Kemp played 14 seasons in the NBA after the Sonics took him with the 17th pick in the 1989 NBA draft. He also played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, Portland Trail Blazers and Orlando Magic before he voluntarily retired due to weight and drug issues, leaving millions on the table.

He did not return several calls to his cellphone Friday. His lawyer, Scott Boatman, is out of the country and unavailable until mid-August. His agent, Tony Dutt, also did not return phone messages.

Kemp was scheduled to be in town this weekend for a basketball tournament run by his wife, Marvena, at the Green Lake Community Center. At the tournament, she was busy taping up signs and signing up teams, and said she hadn't talked to her husband.

Asked if she was concerned, she replied, "Not right now. I'm concerned about getting this tournament done, and I won't think about it [her husband] until I figure out what's going on. But I don't know anything."

Greg Bishop: 206-464-3191 or gbishop@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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