Jack Sikma dedicated part of his Hall of Fame induction speech Friday night to campaigning for a return of the SuperSonics. Sikma was one of Seattle’s most recognizable players and part of its only NBA championship team in 1979. His number 43 is among seven that have been retired by the franchise.
“To all the diehard Sonic fans who proudly sport the green and gold … there’s a hole in Seattle that needs to be filled,” Sikma said in comments relayed by Anthony Olivieri of ESPN The Magazine. “Speaking for all Sonics fans, it’s our great hope that the NBA will soon find a pathway to bring a franchise back to Seattle. It’s time.”
The Sonics were a beloved part of the Pacific Northwest from their creation in 1967 until Clay Bennett moved them to Oklahoma City in 2008. Although it has since been broken, the team set a league attendance record by averaging 21,725 fans per night during the 1979/80 season.
Hope for a return was reignited by a new $900MM facility that will serve as home to Seattle’s expansion NHL team, which begins play in 2021. The building sits on the site of the former KeyArena, and fans in the area hope it will eventually house the Sonics as well.
Although Seattle has been rumored to be atop the NBA’s expansion list ever since the original team left, there’s no indication that the league plans to add teams any time soon. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly thrown cold water on the idea.
“There’s no doubt there are a number of cities in the United States that could host NBA basketball, but we analogize it to selling equity,” he said in July. “I think we would want to make sure at the time we expanded we felt it would help grow the entire league and not just support the NBA in that particular city.”
What do you think? Does it make sense for the NBA to add another team or two right now? Or is it smarter to wait, regardless of the emotional attachment that many have to the Sonics?
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