The History of the Seattle Supersonics
The history of the Seattle Supersonics was one filled with highs and lows. From their inaugural season in 1967 all the way to it’s ending in 2008, the Supersonics had a pretty good franchise. It was home to some of the NBA greats like Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Ray Allen, and even a rookie Kevin Durant. They were able to notch up three western conference titles and an NBA championship in 1979. With the rich history of the Sonics, it was certainly a surprise from the fans that ownership decided to move and rebrand the franchise.
The Seattle Supersonics History
The Seattle SuperSonics were founded by two Los Angeles businessmen Sam Schulman and Eugene V Klein on December 20, 1966, and became the first pro sports team out of Seattle. The Sonics finished their inaugural season at a record of just 23-59, needing a lot of improvement. They made a move that sent their all-star Walt Hazzard to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Lenny Wilkens. In only two years and with the arrival of Spencer Haywood from the ABA, the Sonics managed to capture it’s first winning season in franchise history.
During the 1977-78 season, Lenny Wilkens returned to be the Head Coach after he was traded during the 1972-73 season. After starting 5-17 before Wilkens, they went on to win eleven of their first twelve games under Wilkens and finished the season 47-35. They made a run to the NBA finals that season but fell short in seven games to the Washington Bullets. In the following season, they managed to keep most of their roster. Because of that, they managed to win their first division title in franchise history and made a run back to the NBA Finals. They went on to face the Washington Bullets again, and the Sonics won the rematch in seven games led by Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, and Finals MVP Dennis Johnson.
The 90’s Era
After their championship run in 1979, they hit a decline through the ’80s after the original team owner Sam Schulman sold the team to Barry Ackerley. The struggles continued until 1989 when they drafted Shawn Kemp and in 1990 when they drafted Gary Payton. This is when we see a turnaround with the team. They even posted 63-19 record in the 1993-94 season but became the first number 1 seed to lose to an 8 seed in the playoffs when they fell to the Denver Nuggets. A couple of years later in the 1995-96 season, they posted up a franchise-best 64-18 record and won their Western Conference title. In the Finals, they fell to the 72-10 Chicago Bulls in six games. They would continue to have good seasons after their finals run until Head Coach George Karl and management had disagreements, which led to the end of his tenure
The Struggles and Ultimate Loss
In the 2002-03 season, the Sonics would trade their all-star Gary Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks. They would also end up with their first losing season in 11 years at the time. They did have a good year in the 2004-05 season, but Head Coach Nate McMillian left to go to the Portland Trail Blazers. In 2006, the owner at the time Howard Schultz sold the Sonics to the Professional Basketball Club LLC, which was led by an Oklahoma City Businessman Clay Bennett. This was due to the lack of support from the Washington government to remodel the Sonics home court Key Arena. After Bennett bought the team, he also failed to pursued local governments to build an arena. This resulted in him wanting to move to Oklahoma City.
The Controversy of the Move
After Clay Bennett made legal settlements to the city of Seattle, the move was now official. Before the settlement was made, emails were leaked out that showed that Bennett and his group wanted to move the team before they even bought the team. This caused a lawsuit from Schultz, which was later voided. Fans felt betrayed by the ownership and the city.
Seattle hasn’t had a team since, and most fans want to see a team back there soon. Will the NBA ever send a team back to Seattle?