So far, attempts to bring the SuperSonics back to Seattle have fallen short. Fans might be a little down, but 34 years ago the Sonics really gave us something to cheer about.
In 2008 Clay Bennett took the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City and changed the name to The Thunder. After 41 seasons in Seattle, the NBA team was gone. KJR Sports Radio host “Softy” blamed then-mayor Greg Nickels.
In a radio interview Softy asked Nickels why, over the previous 10 years, there had been such a lack of interest in attending Sonics games. “I would say that in the last 10 years this has not been a very fun team to watch,” responded Nickels.
Mayor Nickels was right. The Sonics hadn’t been very much fun to watch for a long time. In fact, to find real thrills you have to go back to Friday, June 1, 1979.
That night, two games were underway at the same time. At the Kingdome in Seattle, the Mariners were partway through another lackluster baseball season. They were playing expansion-team rivals the Toronto Blue Jays as 5,000 ambivalent fans looked on.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the country the Sonics were playing perhaps the most exciting game in the history of the team: the NBA World Championship.
Seattle was up three games to one in the series against the Washington Bullets in Landover, Md. It was a close game.
As the fourth quarter wound down, “Voice of the Sonics” Bob Blackburn brought home all the action. In the Kingdome, they actually halted the baseball game. Everyone, even the players on the field, stopped what they were doing and looked up at the big screen to watch the Sonics. Bob Blackburn, the “Voice of the Sonics” brought home all the action as he counted down the final seconds.
“Five, four — pass to Gus Williams — three, two, one; and the Supersonics win their first ever NBA Championship! The ball sails high in the air,” shouted Blackburn over the roaring crowd. “The Sonics are ecstatic. The horns are honking around the Pacific Northwest.”
Sonics fans everywhere cheered the victory. But for Mariner fans there were still a few more innings to go. The home team scored a couple more runs and beat the Blue Jays seven to two. Meanwhile, right outside the Kingdome, Pioneer Square filled with revelers as a big celebration got underway.
The next day the Sonics came home to a hero’s welcome at SeaTac and then a parade downtown that drew 300,000 fans. NBA officials gave the team a golden trophy, and the mayor read a proclamation:
“I, Charles Royer, Mayor of the City, etcetera, do hereby proclaim Monday, June 4, as ‘Sonics Day’ in Seattle.”
But the Sonics’ days are done and so is the Kingdome. About the only things left from 1979 are the Mariners still struggling. And that golden NBA trophy? Currently it’s in storage at the Museum of History and Industry.