Kevin Calabro recently signed a 3-year extension with ESPN Radio to call their NBA games. Last week, he did a live chat with the Seattle Times and among the topics discussed were the Sonics (of course), the potential of the NHL coming to town, the arena, and more. Here are some of the highlights;
Do you think George Karl might get into the Hall of Fame one day?
Oh absolutely. I think he certainly has the wins, doesn't have the ring, but certainly has the wins to warrant being in the Hall of Fame.
Better Dunker; Blake Griffin or Shawn Kemp?
I think Shawn Kemp, but let me tell you about Blake Griffin. He's now developing a mid-range game and the ability to get to the free throw line. Shawn was a better player, better mid-range, shooter, but Blake is closing the gap in that area. Blake has unbelievable power at the rim. Shawn had power at the rim, but Blake has suddenness at the rim. Kemp was a great weak side shot blocker, too, which Blake doesn't do much of.
Are you still happy with your decision to not follow the relocated Sonics to OKC?
Yeah. That was a family reason. It would be impossible to move my family. The thought of commuting back and forth, and there's no commute, which meant seeing the families a couple times of month was not good. I had 21 years of NBA basketball so I knew I could freelance and do other projects so I don't regret that. Every year a club calls and checks on my availability. If I wanted to get involved full time with another club in another market I could do that.
If everything were perfect, it'd be perfect to see Kevin Durant and Westbrook work on the floor. What a thrill that must be. If you can't get jazzed up about that then you shouldn't be in the business.
How would Sonics basketball be impacted in the future if the NHL were to come to Seattle first?
I think it would energize the market if the NHL were here. Being a Seattle guy, it'd be great to get the NHL. Does it make it more difficult in terms of advertising dollars or fans, sure it'd make it more competitive. It'd be more competitive for the MLB, MLS and NFL. It's a big television market and that drives the bus. I think it would then, in my opinion, make the NBA take notice at what's going on here with NHL expansion. I think it'd be a stimulus to get a building done.
I definitely see it as a positive factor. It means another NBA competitor but that's fine. The positives outweigh the negatives. I'm a huge fan of the NHL in the arena. Can't say I watch much unless Doc Emrick is doing a game. In the arena, it's spectacular. The energy is phenomenal and it's a great buzz. In Key Arena, even with reduced seating, I think it'd be a hot, hot ticket for the first few years of existence. Maybe they can get a commitment for a building, too.
For the NBA, it's TV dollars. For the NHL it's about having seats, suites. That's what the NHL banks on.
After the major letdown last year with the Sonics/Kings situation, how optimistic are you regarding the return of the NBA to Seattle?
It's going to happen. Whether it happens in three or five years is up for conjecture. I happen to be an optimist and think they'll be here in three years. National TV contract is up in three years, and they're currently negotiating it. Sources tell me they may come to an agreement late this summer. Once the owners get a hold of those numbers and resolve what those numbers look like, then they'll start thinking expansion. Also, those teams not doing well will have a better gauge on their future. That means the Bucks, whose lease is up in 2017.
Once the owners know what the revenue stream looks like, then they can talk about additional revenue, which means expansion fees. It would be simply mind blowing if they didn't expand that has a building plan, politically is in agreement, a strong ownership group and 41 years of great history of supporting NBA basketball. Also, a great sports market in a top TV market. How they could ignore that and not take advantage is beyond me. I'm an optimist. It was a great trial last summer but it didn't work out, and that doesn't mean there won't be more chances.
You can read the whole interview here.