Let the Sonics Go!

The final logo of the SuperSonics

The final logo of the SuperSonics. Always thought the “S” looked too much like a swastika.

My first love in sports was basketball and by extension the Seattle Supersonics. My Dad was a season ticket holder from year one of the franchise in 1968. I was four years old. Every season until I moved out to go to college in 1982 he would bring home player and team posters from some of the 41 home dates the team played in the leaky T-Pee, the Coliseum. The blanketed my bedroom walls as I grew up.

By the time I was 12 and in the 6th grade, I was 6-foot 1-inch tall, and was taller than anyone at my school. And naturally I played basketball. Had I kept growing, even a little bit my basketball career would probably have amounted to much more than it did. But 6-1 remains my height today.

I grew up loving the Sonics. Leaping Lee Winfield was my first favorite star, though I know now he was hardly a star. I just liked the┬ánickname that Sonics’ announcer Bob Blackburn laid on him. Dick Snyder, Fred Brown, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, Xavier McDaniel, Tom Chambers, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, and Kevin Durant…to name just a tiny few…were all my primary source of entertainment November through April and if we were lucky, like we were three different Springs, into June. When they won the NBA Championship in 1979 I organized all my friends to skip school and take the bus downtown to watch the victory parade. Pretty heady stuff for a 13-year-old. I’d never been to downtown Seattle unaccompanied by an adult.

English: Supersonics basketball game; City Lig...

When Sonics owner and Starbucks magnate Howard Shultz announced the sale of the team to Oklahoma businessman Clay Bennett I immediately bought a full season ticket package. While I was instantly fearful that Bennett would move the team to Oklahoma City I wanted to make certain I did everything I could to stop him, especially attending all the games and giving him more money than my family and new business, Total Broadcasting Service, could realistically afford to spend.

I didn’t renew my tickets for the 2007-2008 season. At that point it was abundantly clear that Bennett had zero intension of keeping the team in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton or any place else. I still wrote letters to the Seattle Times and watched all the games on TV, that lousy, NBA worst team. And when Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels betrayed us all and sold out the city’s final chance of keeping the Sonics where they belonged and had resided for 40 years a little bit of me died. I haven’t watched an NBA game since.

Image representing Steve Ballmer as depicted i...

Steve Ballmer

Like so many others in the Northwest today’s news that the Sacramento Kings were being sold to Chris Hansen and Microsoft billionaire Steve Ballmer excited me tremendously. But unlike everybody else, I am not hoping for a return of the Sonics or Supersonics. I know I’m alone in this quest, but I sincerely hope Hansen and his group get an NBA team here to our wet city and give it a name other than the Sonics. To me the Sonics are dead. They are gone and short of the Thunder coming back to Seattle I want nothing to do with them. Furthermore, when Bennett left, Nickels allowed him to keep all of the franchises history, their team colors, even the 1979 Championship Trophy. In catching a glimpse of the NBA Finals last year it made me sick to hear the announcers incorrectly say “…this is the fourth trip to the NBA Finals for this franchise”. NO IT WASN’T. It was the Thunder’s first. Seattle’s 3 trips to the finals are not yours to claim, Clay Bennett. What the hell do you know about the glory of Lenny Wilkens and THAT team, or George Karl and THAT team? Renaming the Kings the Sonics would be hollow to me.

I want a new beginning, a fresh start and the ability to root on a new team with a new name. And that new name should be strong, bold and reflective of Seattle’s history. Before it was even a city it was a timber town. In fact supplying timber pilings for San Francisco construction efforts was what enabled the Arthur Denny Party to establish roots here in 1851. They cleared the hills above the Duwamish tide flats and sold what they harvested to a merchant seaman who just happened to sail into their vicinity. Denny knew they’d be coming back for more and immediately set up the Northwest timber industry.

I’d like to see the new Seattle NBA team take a name no previous sports team in the city ever has. Embrace the city’s beginnings and become The Loggers, or The Timbers (too much like Timberwolves?), The Lumberjacks, Ax Men, Saw Men, Foresters. Such names denote strong men with character. And it salutes our regions past like no other name could and like no other organization ever has.

Realizing this is only a dream of mine I’m eager to hear other suggestions. If not the Sonics, what name should a Seattle NBA team have?

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome and encouraged.

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