The mysterious, tragic disappearance and death of Northwest basketball star Tony Harris in Brazil brings to mind the mysterious, tragic disappearance (and presumed death) of retired Seattle SuperSonics forward John Brisker in Uganda 30 years ago. Unlike Harris, the John Brisker disappearance had a spiritual, picaresque quality, the adventurer-narrative of a lost soul journeying to a lost land. And then the soul vanishes. By 1978, John Brisker, who played for the Sonics from 1973-75, was adrift. Restless or not, angry or not, why did Brisker venture to the unstable purgatory of Uganda? Was he radicalized by a bloviating, charismatic Idi Amin? Post-colonial Africa was a politically fluid place, subject to demagogues and neo-utopians angling to fill the void of European hegemons. Brisker appeared to be a pilgrim of sorts, albeit a doomed one. Here's what we know: Brisker was never heard from again after April 1978. He might have aligned himself with Amin, the glad-handing, cannibal dictator, and gotten himself killed during the post-Amin backlash. By 1985, Brisker was legally declared dead. In the Northwest, the Brisker disappearance fell into the pantheon of the curious and the unsolved. When I was a kid, it was D.B. Cooper, Bigfoot, Ted Bundy, the UFOs around Mount Rainier, and John Brisker. Could Brisker still be alive, afraid to show his face? Was he put into the FBI's witness protection program, did he adopt a new identity, does he now work as a Smith Tower elevator operator? For a summer or two, Brisker was the Northwest-conspiracy version of what really happened to Amelia Earhart. Then, like so many things, we started to forget. We know this much: Neither Harris nor Brisker deserved to die, scared and alone, far from family in a faraway land. For an excellent piece on the Brisker saga, see Robert Jamieson's Seattle Post-Intelligencer column from 2004.