Give Seattle their Sonics back

Before the NBA explores options for a team in Mexico City, they need to remember the faithful fans in Seattle

As sports leagues attempt to expand across borders and coasts to reach more people in different countries, they need to remember the fans from nearly forgotten cities here in the United States.

In mid-January, the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns traveled south of the border to Mexico City. The arena had a record attendance of 20,532 people in the sellout game. According to NBA officials, it was the largest crowd to ever attend an NBA game in Mexico.

“I think (having games in Mexico is) great for growing the audience and the fan base in the NBA,” sports journalism professor Brett Kurland said.

After the game, NBA commissioner Adam Silver talked about the market for a team in Mexico City. He said that its arena and large population make the city a possible landing spot for an NBA franchise in the future.

However, there is one city in the United States that has been almost forgotten by the NBA: Seattle. While the league considers moving south of the border, old fans want them to look back into the Northwest.

“There are so many established sports cities in the country that are dying for a sport like this,” Seattle-area native Max Madden, a journalism major, said. “Especially somewhere like Seattle where its been proven to work for 30 years.”

Seattle is a huge basketball town, producing former Arizona State player Sam Cunliffe and great NBA players Jamal Crawford, Jason Terry and Nate Robinson — just to name a few. There is a great fan base in the area, which is made evident by the Seattle Seahawks. 

Before being stripped of its team and relocated to Oklahoma City, the Seattle Supersonics were once a household name, as they were even mentioned in an Ice Cube rap song.

“I think there is an established fan base in Seattle, I mean they had 30 years worth of history and a championship from 1979,” Madden said. “I think all of that was kind of erased when the team was taken away from them.”

However, when Seattle was stripped of their beloved Supersonics, the people could not just move on or find a new team to love.

“It feels like Seattle is just waiting to get a team back,” Kurland said. “It doesn’t feel like ‘okay, that’s the end, we have to move on.’ It’s like ‘when are we getting a team back?’”

Seattle celebrities have pushed for a Supersonics resurrection and even offered to personally pay for a new stadium themselves to try and help them get their team back.

Madden, who was only a devastated 10-year-old fan when the Supersonics packed their bags and left for Oklahoma City, believes that the city needs more than these celebrity endorsements. The Seattle City Council needs to approve an area to build a new stadium, and the people need to prove that getting back their Supersonics is important to them and the city.

There is no doubt that bringing back the Supersonics would be great for both the city of Seattle and the NBA. If the city got their team back, every game for the first season would be sold out. Tickets sales would be through the roof.

The people would be going crazy to see their team play for the first time since 2008 and the hype around the Supersonics would be amazing. Plus the NBA would receive probably the most unique rivalry in sports history.

Imagine how intense the games in Seattle against the Oklahoma City Thunder would be. Fans would be screaming their lungs out as they rooted against the team that was taken away from them and moved to another city. The stadium atmosphere would be unlike any other and the hatred for the other team would be so high. 

The Thunder and the Sonics would most likely be in the same Northwest division, which would have them playing each other four times a year. The NBA could create the best rivalry in sports.

“The optimist in me thinks that Seattle will get a team just because there is too much money there [for the NBA] not to,” Madden said.

While the NBA isn’t looking to expand right now, when it begins looking for a city to give a team, there’s no need to look further than the Supersonics’ old home in Seattle.


Reach the columnist at kmarlin1@asu.edu or follow @kynan_marlin on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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