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 nickname 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.

Seahawks Looking Good! Can you say Super Bowl?

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

Since the writing of this blog the New England Patriots defeated the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football 42-14. 

This Seattle Seahawk season ticket holder was pretty darned impressed with what he saw in Sunday’s 58-0 record blow-out of the Arizona Cardinals. It’s got me thinking of…dare I say it…the Super Bowl.

Call me crazy if you will but my dreams could be realized if a few small things fall our way. And we could be making plans for a trip to…NEW JERSEY? Ya…New Jersey. The fact that the game is being played in a northern climate again is one other reason why I feel optimistic. Seattle’s only other trip to nirvana occurred in 2006 when the Seahawks lost to Pittsburg in Detroit, MI.

(Oops! It has been correctly pointed out to me that the Super Bowl in New Jersey won’t take place until after next season in 2014. This season’s 2013 Super Bowl will be in New Orleans.)

Picture taken by me of Qwest Field at night fr...

CenturyLink Field where Seattle is undefeated.

Here is the situation: Seattle is 8-5 with three games left. Sunday they travel to Toronto to play the Buffalo Bills. On Christmas Eve eve, December 23rd, the Hawks host division leading San Francisco at CenturyLink Field. And then they close out the season at the “Clink” against the improving St. Louis Rams.

Before anyone gets too excited let me remind you that Seattle has played and lost to both the 49ers and the Rams this season, and at this point in the season they haven’t clinched anything. Having said that I like our chances.

Tonight’s Monday night game, Houston at New England, in Foxboro could be important. If Houston wins New England would not want to lose two straight when they host the 49ers next Sunday night. So come-on Texans! If the Pat’s win tonight they might start shifting into coast-mode before the playoffs when they play San Francisco. (New England won 42-14)  If San Fran loses their game in New England, while Seattle beats Buffalo the game in Seattle would decide the division lead with only one game to play.

Seattle will beat Buffalo for several reasons. First, they exorcised that “can’t win on the road” ghost in beating the Bears in Chicago last week. Second, the game is not in Buffalo so the Bills will not have that much of a decided home field advantage. Lastly, besides the crowd the other huge advantage Buffalo has over all its opponents in December is the weather. But the Seahawk game will be inside what they used to call Skydome.

I think the Hawks can break the 49ers win streak of them and take the division lead. What a nice Christmas present THAT will be. A division crown would come down to beating the Rams on December 30th at CenturyLink; a proposition I favor. But it won’t be easy. The Rams play an up-and-down Minnesota club next week and a declining Tampa Bay after that. They could come to Seattle 8-6-1 needing a win for the playoffs. Still, you can’t bet against Seattle at the Clink, no matter who they’re playing; as evidenced by their victories this year over possibly the 2 best teams in the league, Green Bay and New England.

Seattle would then host at least one playoff game and probably earn a bye the first weekend. This scenario counts on G.B. to lose at least once more. which I think they’ll do. Seattle and the Packers would be tied with an 11-5 record and thanks to Russell Wilson, Golden Tate, and a Replacement Referee Seattle would host their first playoff game after taking a week off.

Seattle would be favored over whoever they played and I would expect them to win, putting them into the NFC Championship game.

NFC Championship Game logo, 2005–2010

Under my scheme that game would only be in Atlanta or Seattle. If it’s Atlanta, well, the Falcons would be deservedly favored. If it’s in Seattle against the New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, San Francisco 49ers or the last playoff entrant (Who cares. They won’t win), then I like my teams chances of going to East Rutherford.

I’ve never been happier being so wrong. I’m referring to Pete Carroll’s pick of Russell Wilson as the teams starting quarterback this year. I was the first in the Matt Flynn camp, dating back to last January. And as good as Wilson has played, who’s to say Flynn couldn’t have done the same thing? Having said that, clearly Wilson is a special player and can lead this team to the Super Bowl provided a few not-so-unlikely things fall our way. Go Seahawks! Go Texans! Go Patriots (next week)!

Thanks for visiting. Comments are welcome.