Slick Watts, Seattle Supersonics (1974-1978)
I don’t play basketball.
I don’t have the footwork or the shot to merit me to play that sport. I used to play football. I used to play a lot of volleyball also. In my senior year of high school I had a pretty lax schedule with a late arrival and early dismissal. 2nd period was advanced team sport and my fifth period, I was a TA for advanced team sports. Yea, it was really relaxed. Every sport we played during that time I played except for basketball.
I’m writing based on my memories as those are what tied me into the Sonics. Chapters of my life (as corny as it may sound) revolved around what happened with the Seahawks and the Sonics. Not so much the Mariners, but I gotta say that in 2001, Ichiro Suzuki was given some award in a magazine and it also listed the top 100 folks after him, and the group that I was a part of at that time, was like #67 or something.
I remember watching John Coker, who was the tallest guy at our high school post up and straight kill folks in the paint. I remember hi-5’ing folks next to me for every blocked shot. It was good for me to pass time watching basketball in high school and college during the football off-season. The Sonics at the time had Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniels aka the X-Man. If I remember right, when I first moved to Washington State from the East Coast, Seattle was in the playoffs and made it to the Western Conference Finals.
Shawn Kemp (Seattle 1989-1997) and Detlef Shrempf (1993-1999)
In college, I played a lot of intramural volleyball even playing against the college team players. I was a lot shorter than them, but boy could I get them a perfect set for a crazy smash. Meanwhile Seattle traded Ellis and McDaniels for Kemp and Payton.
After college, my fraternity brothers and I organized a 3 on 3 basketball tournament in the city to raise money for a local domestic violence service provider. One of the brothers in the fraternity, had domestic violence significantly alter his life. We felt as a brotherhood that raising money for the agency that helped us help him and his family through that ordeal was the least thing we could do. That tournament has been running since 1996. I remember trying to figure out how are we going to get Payton to host one of the tournaments. I mean shit, he was such a big name that it would help to raise more money for the cause. We didn’t get Payton, but some high schooler destined for the NBA did play…some of you may know him, Jason Terry. Obviously after he signed up and played, we had to change the rules up. No team organized players can play the tournament. Terry just made fools look real dumb on the court.
I used to watch the Sonics in the Key and on TV lots. It was definitely something that was a must-do in my house. Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Detlef Shrempf, Nate Mcmillon, Hersey Hawkins, Sam Perkins, Steve Sheffler, Eric Snow and the rest of the 95-96 team was awesome to watch.Even though they lost to Jordan and the Bulls that year, you just knew the team was gonna make The Town proud.
AND PLUS we had The Glove and The Reign Man!!! Payton/Kemp was one of the best duos in NBA history. Damn they were dope. The duo dubbed THE SONIC BOOM.
Gary Payton aka The Glove, (Seattle 1990-2003)
The Sonics means a lot to a lot of people in Seattle. Despite the losing seasons, the breaking up of that ’96 team, Kemp leaving to the Cavs and us getting Vin Baker, Mcmillon retiring, Karl leaving and getting replaced by Westphal, Payton going to the Bucks…a whole bunch of shit happened that made the Sonics become real mediocre. But we still loved em.
Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis brought up the morale a bit by getting the city a division title in the ’04-05 season, BUT it wasn’t enough. In 2007, Seattle decided to trade Allen and brought in Kevin Durant. KD was the Rookie of the Year that year so the trade was great, but he didn’t have the supporting cast to help the team get past 20 or so wins. Terrible!
I remember talking to my brother and his homies (who were much more knowledgable about basketball than I) over a whole mess of cigarettes and drink, regarding the possible loss of the team.
“No way bro”
“AW hell nah”
“Seattle ain’t that dumb”
“Why would they do that shit, we just got Kevin fuckin’ Durant…HELLO, DURANT-ULA”
“If they do leave, it’ll be because of Starbucks”
Jason Reid, Director of Sonicsgate
Well the couple years heading into the relocation to the other city garnered a lot of local coverage. Through this coverage we could hear and see the lies right before our face from the new owners from that city. These fuckers purchased the team under GOOD FAITH, that they would not leave Seattle. I really won’t go into too much detail as I’ll leave you to watch SonicsGate: Requiem for a Team. Jason Reid and his crew has been at the forefront of bringing a team back to the city. They have been the ones to make sure that folks do not forget that not only do we not have a team, but that the team was stolen from us. I think you’ll be quite impressed and just as maddened at the whole idea of how it all went down. If you are not from Seattle, think about your hometeam or your favorite team leaving you, leaving your city, leaving your memories homeless. I mean I am buying old Sonics gear to explain to my son what the team used to be and what it means to me and our family. Yea there is a bunch of us who are salty. There are a lot of people who say get over it. What do I say to them? You’ll understand when this happens to you. When you get the rug pulled out from under you. When you have to explain to your son (or daughter), that there USED to be a team in the city, it used to be called the SUPERSONICS, then you’ll understand. Some of ya’ll say we should root for Durant now, since they are in the playoffs. Well, I read a tweet that was the dopest rebuttal to that, “If they win the championship, the first person to hold the trophy isn’t going to be Durant, it’s going to be the owner.”
What’s happening now? Well Seattle got a new dude in town who is trying to bring a team back to the city. Chris Hansen along with the Sonics Arena crew are not only trying to being professional basketball to The Town, but also professional hockey. Yesterday the Sonics Arena crew, threw a Sonics Rally, brought over 5000 fans to Seattle’s Pioneer Square Neighborhood at Occidental Park. It was so dope! Green and Gold everywhere. Music from The Presidents of the United States to local hip hop favorites the Blue Scholars. Speeches given from Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, SLICK WATTS among other noteables.
It was a great day for Seattle. Green and Gold all over the place. People honking at people all over the city wearing Sonics gear and waving Sonics flags and banners. It felt like we were in the NBA finals this year.
It felt like GP threw Kemp 50 alley-oops. It felt like Calabro calling another excellent game.
It felt like The Town had an NBA team called the Seattle Supersonics.
For those 3-5 quick hours, Seattle felt like 1996 again.
Chris Hansen, Spearheading the return of the Sonics with a new Sonics Arena
These shots represent not only the city coming together again under the Green and Gold, but also marked the increased hope and possiblity to have another team come back to The Town. In no way does the fans of the Sonics wish to take away another city’s team or history. It is recommended to the NBA that an expansion be granted. Let’s hope they listen. What we do know, is that Chris Hansen and the crew aren’t looking to lie and cheat to get another team to the Emerald City and the Northwest. They are looking to have the team in Seattle and do exactly what Clay Matthews and that crew didn’t do – lie to a fanbase of their cowardly plans.
Bring Back Our Team.
BIG thanks to Geologic @prometheusbrown from the Blue Scholars for the All Access.
These are photos from my brother @pahliewalnuts on IG.