Jack Sikma was the heart of the Seattle Supersonics, helping lead that team to an NBA title in 1979. His play as a seven-time All-Star (and the only center in NBA history to lead the league in single-season free throw percentage at .922 in 1988) has taken him all the way to Springfield and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Sikma used that platform this weekend in part to plead for a return of the NBA to Seattle.
“To all the diehard Sonic fans who proudly sport the green and gold… there’s a hole in Seattle that needs to be filled. 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.”
It was a huge applause line.
The Sonics were sold by Howard Shultz (the man who gave us Starbucks) to Clay Bennett and a team of investors from Oklahoma, who leveraged an arena conflict with the city of Seattle to move the team to Oklahoma City in the fall of 2008. While there has been talk the past decade of franchises moving to Seattle — the Kings came closest before the team was sold to Vivek Ranadive, who built a new arena and kept everything in Sacramento — nothing has come of it. While the people of Seattle (and other cities) have called for NBA expansion, the league’s owners have shown no interest in that (and I was told by sources in the past year it was not on the table for the league right now).
That said, if there is a team sold and on the move in the coming years, there is a feeling around the league that Seattle and its backers should get first crack at it. Currently, that is not on the table.
Congratulations to Skima for deservedly making the Hall of Fame, and using the platform he was given so well.