As Seattle NBA/NHL fans, we’ve been conditioned to believe that the local politicians have been against us. The reason is simple. Local politicians have been against us at times.
The failed street vacation vote last May certainly didn’t counteract that feeling, and the recently revived efforts to renovate KeyArena can understandably be perceived as a red herring designed to give local officials a convenient way out.
But Seattle Supersonics legend Lenny Wilkens has a message for us in this regard. That message is to get an arena built in whichever location we can. In an op-ed piece for the Seattle Times, Wilkens wrote the following.
...Here is what I know: There is interest. And it is “strong” on all sides — the NBA, the city of Seattle, the mayor’s office, our community, our fans, our next ownership group and the players who call this home.
...And while it has been eight long years since the NBA left, the Sonics brand is strong and viable — and that is why the NBA continues to be interested in our market. It is time, Seattle!
...We have the best chance to date to bring the Sonics back to Seattle — either in SoDo or a rebuilt KeyArena.
...This new proposed KeyArena redo is something that is fueling renewed hope that the city is ready to bring back our Sonics.
...But, at the end of the day, I support one thing — bringing the Sonics home. If that’s the Key or Sodo, let’s get moving!
I know we all love Chris Hansen. I know most of us prefer Sodo. But Coach Wilkens makes a good and pragmatic point. In life, we don’t always get what we want exactly how we want it. In fact, we usually don’t. So let’s embrace whichever arena can actually get built.
Lenny also says “Chris Hansen and his ownership group are strong. But the hurdles are big.” Both of those sentences are true. If Sodo is the preference, then rooting for that location is a good thing to do. But, because of the political challenges involved with that site, it’s a mistake to completely dismiss or work against other locations that have viable investment groups. AEG and OVG are not M.T. Phoenix. They are serious investors with a successful track record.
Can we build it in Sodo? Let’s do it. Can we build it at Seattle Center? Make it so. Can we build it in Tukwila? Game on.
Can we as a fan base get behind whichever project gets done? I believe we will.