Remember the days Shawn Kemp used to dunk all over everyone and everything? What about the countless times Gary Payton terrorized opposing guards on defense? How about when prime Ray Allen dropped a career-high 54 points against the Utah Jazz? Did you forget Kevin Durant won NBA Rookie of the Year in the green and gold?
For anyone who has been to Seattle, or at least understands the city’s rich sports history, knows basketball is king. From the Metro League to the Washington Huskies to the Seattle SuperSonics, there wasn’t many better places to watch hoops than the Emerald City once upon a time.
In many ways, that is still true today, but when the Sonics left Seattle in 2008 to become the Oklahoma City Thunder — taking future superstars like Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden with them — it completely broke the city’s heart, and it hasn’t been the same since.
Sure, the rain will always fall, the Seahawks will pack CenturyLink Field, and Starbucks will still sell pumpkin spice coffee, but no NBA team in Seattle is the saddest peanut butter sandwich without any jelly.
From 1967 to 2008, the Seattle Center Coliseum, the Kingdome, and KeyArena, housed some of the greatest players and memories in NBA history. Lenny Wilkins, Spencer Haywood, Fred Brown, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma and Nate McMillan all had their jerseys retired.
There’s no doubt Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp would be up in the rafters alongside those players and legendary broadcaster Bob Blackburn, too. Rashard Lewis, Dale Ellis, Xavier McDaniel, Tom Chambers, Ray Allen, Detlef Schrempf, Vin Baker and Sam Perkins, among many others, were all damn good in Seattle as well.
With the 1979 NBA championship and three more Western Conference titles, it’s safe to say Clay Bennett, the chairman of Professional Basketball Club LLC really messed up when they took over ownership from Basketball Club of Seattle’s Howard Schultz and moved to OKC.
Everything owners Sam Schulman and Barry Ackerley helped build, from hiring legendary coaches to securing Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame players, was turned into ancient history in the snap of a finger.
So, why is this being brought up again? Well, not only is it always relevant for Seattle to fight for its team back, much like Chris Hansen and his investment group did years ago, but Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver has threatened to move the franchise to either Seattle or Las Vegas because the negotiations for arena renovations in Arizona have stalled.
Talking Stick Resort Arena in downtown Phoenix needs some improvements. Considering nothing has been done to the arena since 2003, significant funds are needed for it. If the Phoenix City Council doesn’t help make this arena deal happen, then Sarver could shop a new location, according to the azcentral.com.
He wouldn’t need to shop long, however. Despite recent success of the NHL’s Las Vegas Golden Knights, and the pending move of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders to Sin City, there is really only one place to go: Seattle.
Perhaps this is all a threat to get the needed funds to stay in Phoenix or get an entire new arena like the Sacramento Kings did. Maybe it’s all a pipe dream for Seattle to get the SuperSonics back or even receive an expansion team.
It doesn’t change the fact the Emerald City needs and deserves to have a NBA franchise return home.