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Happy 40th Anniversary Sonics Fans

Shawn Kemp

Lots of green and gold activities around town this weekend as faithful fans celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Sonic’s championship season.

I plan on making my way out to see Gary Payton at 1pm this afternoon at Simply Seattle. As always I’m tremendously appreciative and supportive of new supporters of the cause like Simply Seattle and the Bring Em Back movement and especially love seeing them partner with OG Sonics supporters like KJR and Sonicsgate. In addition to having the Glove out today Simply Seattle will host Coach Lenny Wilkens on June 6 from 5:30 - 7:30pm.

Things have been very quiet lately for a number of reasons:

  • The official team has been working their tails off, fighting cost overages and trying to get the building and the NHL franchise off the ground.
  • Hockey is deservedly having it’s moment and the writers from this site have been working to provide a forum for that conversation. Meanwhile John, Andy and the rest of the gang at NHLtoSeattle continue to deliver spectacular content.
  • I’ve been focused on getting my business in order and preparing for the birth of our 4th child, due August 31. That same month I’ll be saying goodbye to my oldest who heads away for college. Hard to believe I’ll have kids who are 19, 16, 3 and 1 before the Sonics come back...

I don’t expect that silence to last:

  • I’ve been working on content related to where we are now and what the process for the Sonics return may look like.
  • As NHL Seattle transitions away from startup mentality and starts to really work on audience engagement they know that they need to engage the NBA audience. Support from basketball fans is important both to the immediate success of the hockey team and also contributes to their NBA ownership aspirations.
  • Nobody wants to see Sonicsgate 2.0 so do not expect to see drawn out, incremental changes of position from the league. The answer from them will continue to be “no” right up until the day it becomes “yes”. If you need an example of this check out Gary Bettman’s commentary regarding NHL expansion right up until the moment it happened.
  • Regardless the ever increasing certainty of an NBA suitable building in this market is going to lead to an ever increasing sense of inevitability about the teams return. I expect to see some substantive new developments starting in the next 3-6 months and continuing through arena construction.

And what about Sodo?

The 40th Anniversary of the teams championship has brought back a lot of memories from 2007 when the franchise dedicated courts around the city to celebrate 40 years in existence. I went to just about every event and remember vividly how welcoming then team President Wally Walker was. I know that at the end of the day Chris, Wally, Pete and Russel are big fans who love the franchise

Right now I think their effort is dead in the water, both locally and with the league. “Secret meetings” with the NAACP aren’t going to change anything, rather they need a complete political reset as well as some change of circumstances with the league or ownership if they want to get back in the game.

Any disagreement I have with that team about their strategy is mitigated by the fact that I’m a big fan of the way they live their lives. I can’t criticize anyone for choosing not to immerse themselves fully into league or local politics and have huge admiration for the way Chris has maintained his priorities of family and business first.

I don’t feel sorry for Chris and am not mad at him. If he finds a way back into the scene, or wants help figuring out how I hope he calls me sometime and I’d be happy to do whatever I can to help. Until that happens I’m leaving it with this quote I dug up that IMO really summarizes who he is and why he’s doing just fine regardless of who eventually owns the Sonics.

“I’ve been blessed in life. Let’s start with that. I do a job that I love. I would probably do my day job for free. I’m one of the few people in this world that’s excited to go to work every day. I love my co-workers. I have a great family. Everybody is healthy. Everybody is happy. All of the little things that are really important in life are going pretty well for me. Sure you have speed bumps in life. Things might take a little longer. You might have some adversity and that’s all part of it. Growing up in Rainier Valley, I faced plenty of adversity at a young age. Right now I would be more concerned about tragedy being interjected in my own life then worried about things getting better. I think that’s one of the real challenges for all of us is to realize how lucky we are with the things that really matter in our lives without something bad happening to you to make you realize what you have.” - Chris Hansen