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Friday will be a “celebration of the Sonics”

Warriors players and execs look forward to playing in Seattle

Seattle Times

This Friday, the Golden State Warriors will play host to the Sacramento Kings at KeyArena. The game is the fruition of a three year plan from the Warriors’ President, Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Welts.

Welts is a Seattle native and University of Washington graduate who started his NBA journey at 16 as a ball boy for the Seattle Supersonics. He eventually moved on to become the team’s PR director when they won their Championship in 1979.

During the Warriors’ 2018 preseason debut, Welts spoke about the upcoming game on the team’s broadcast.

We worked three years to bring the Warriors there and I can tell you KD is incredibly excited. I think he may have a couple tricks up his sleeve, actually, while we’re up there. We sold out the game in 4 hours. Seattle is dying to welcome an NBA game back and to welcome Kevin Durant who won his Rookie of the Year award when he was a Seattle Sonic.

Tricks up his sleeve, hmm? Interesting. We’re not sure what these tricks might be, but Durant did speak about the game during the Warriors’ media day.

While we don’t know what these tricks or this show are going to entail, Welts did confirm the presence of some Sonics legends.

“Downtown” Freddy Brown is coming, Jack Sikma is coming, Gary Payton is coming, if you have an extra quarter or two in the broadcast to talk to him. It’s gonna be really fun. It’s gonna be Lenny Wilkins, Bill Russell. It’s gonna be a great celebration of the Sonics in Seattle.

Slick [Watts]’s gonna be there.

Durant and Welts both have fond memories of Seattle and working for the Sonics organization. Even though he never played for the Sonics, Warriors coach Steve Kerr also pines for the Sonics’ return.

The Sonics to me were a lot like the Warriors here in the Bay -- really cool brand, good history and tradition, great colors and an unbelievable fan base. I played there in the Finals in ‘96 with the Bulls. It’s a basketball town.

It’s a real shame -- just the fact that the Sonics don’t exist ... I think it was a real black mark on the NBA. And I’m hoping that the Sonics will be back at some point in the near future.

Durant, who played for the Oklahoma City Thunder for seven seasons after the team was relocated, also spoke candidly about the way the team was uprooted.

It was very devastating how we up and left in the middle of the night. I know those fans have been yearning for basketball for a long, long time.

Even backup guard Shaun Livingston, who visited Seattle as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008, spoke positively and expressed his desire for a Sonics return as well.

Seattle’s a great city. I wish, I hope they get a (NBA) team again.

Friday night is our chance to show the Warriors, and the nation, just how right they are. It’s a chance to show off that “amazing energy” that Durant spoke about. It’s a night to get past the anger and the contempt and prove to the NBA that we are, as Kerr said, “a basketball town.”

To quote Welts one more time;

It’s gonna be an amazing night.