Seattle SuperSonics

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Seattle SuperSonics
Seattle SuperSonics logo
founding 1967
resolution 2008 (as Seattle SuperSonics)
history Seattle SuperSonics
Oklahoma City Thunder
since 2008
Stadion KeyArena (1967–1978, 1985–1994, 1995–2008)
Kingdome (1978–1985)
Tacoma Dome (1994–1995)
Location Seattle
Club colors Green, gold, white
league NBA
Conference Western Conference
division Pacific Division (1967-2004)
Northwest Division (2004-2008)
Head coach see list
General manager see list
owner Sam Schulman (1967–1983)
Barry Ackerley (1983–2001)
Basketball Club of Seattle ( Howard Schultz , Chairman) (2001–2006)
Professional Basketball Club LLC (Clay Bennett, Chairman) (2006–2008)
Championships 1 ( 1979 )
Conference title 3 ( 1978 , 1979 , 1996 )
Division title 6 ( 1979 , 1994 , 1996 , 1997 , 1998 , 2005 )
Jersey colors
Jersey colors
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Kit shorts.svg
Jersey colors
Jersey colors
Kit shorts sonics road.png
Kit shorts.svg
Jersey colors
Jersey colors
Kit shorts sonics altRoad.png
Kit shorts.svg

Seattle SuperSonics (or simplified Sonics ) were an American professional basketball team from Seattle ( Washington ). They were part of the Pacific and Northwest Divisions of the National Basketball Association (NBA) from 1967 to 2008. After the 2007-08 season , the franchise moved to Oklahoma City and is now called Oklahoma City Thunder .

Sam Schulman owned the team from its inception in 1967 through 1983. He was followed by Barry Ackerley (1983-2001) and the Basketball Club of Seattle LLP , led by Chairman , President and CEO of Starbucks , Howard Schultz (2001-2006). On July 18, 2006, the Basketball Club of Seattle LLP sold SuperSonics and the WNBA franchise subsidiary Seattle Storm to Professional Basketball Club LLC , owned by Oklahoma City entrepreneur Clay Bennett. The sale was confirmed by the NBA Board of Directors on October 24, 2006 and completed on October 31. Due to unapproved public funding to build a new sports arena in Seattle, the SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City ahead of the 2008-09 NBA season . The new owners previously agreed with the city of Seattle on a payment of 45 million US dollars to cover the cost of renting the KeyArena, which still existed until 2010 .

Until the move, home games were held in the KeyArena, originally called the Seattle Center Coliseum. In 1978, the team moved to the Kingdome , which they shared with the MLB team Seattle Mariners and the NFL team Seattle Seahawks . In 1985 they moved back to the Coliseum. In the meantime, they also played in the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma (Washington) ( NBA season 1994/95 ) while the Coliseum was rebuilt and renamed the KeyArena.

The SuperSonics were able to achieve the NBA title for the first and only time in 1979. In total, the franchise won three Western Conference titles: 1978, 1979 and 1996 . The team has also won a division title six times, the last one in 2005 , five in the Pacific Division and one in the Northwest Division. After a lawsuit between the City of Seattle and Clay Bennett's company, banners , trophies, and former shirts remained in Seattle; the nickname, logo, and color scheme are available to all subsequent NBA teams. However, the Sonics franchise history was shared with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

History of the franchise


Tom Meschery and Bob Rule during the Sonics expansion season (circa 1967-68).

On December 20, 1966, Los Angeles businessmen Sam Schulman and Eugene V. Klein and a group of partners obtained the rights to an NBA franchise in Seattle. Schulman acted as chairman and head of the team. The name "SuperSonics" referred to Boeing's recent contract for the SST ( Supersonic Transport ) project, which was later discontinued. The SuperSonics were Seattle's first major league franchise .

The team started playing in October 1967 and was trained by Al Bianchi. The team was one of the all-star - Guard Walt Hazzard and NBA All-Rookie Team -members Bob Rule and Al Tucker. The expansion team lost the first game 144-116 and ended the season with a negative win / loss ratio of 23:59.

1968–1975: The Wilkens era

Lenny Wilkens in the SuperSonics jersey (1968).

Before the new season started, Hazzard was traded for Lenny Wilkens with the Atlanta Hawks . Wilkens brought an eclectic game to the SuperSonics, averaging 22.4 points per game, 8.2 assists, and 6.2 rebounds in the 1968/69 season. Rule, however, improved its rookie stats to an average of 24 points per game and 11.5 rebounds. The SuperSonics only won 30 games, however, and Bianchi was replaced as player -coach by Wilkens in the off-season .

Wilkens and Rule represented Seattle in the 1970 NBA All-Star Game, and Wilkens had the most assists in the 1969/70 season. In June 1970, the NBA owners voted 13: 4 to merge with the American Basketball Association (ABA); SuperSonics owner Sam Schulman, himself a member of the 1970 merger committee, was so keen on the merger of the leagues that he publicly announced that if the NBA did not approve the merger, he would join the SuperSonics to join the ABA. Schulman also threatened to move the franchise to Los Angeles to compete directly with the Lakers . The Antitrust action of Oscar Robertson against the NBA delayed the decision and the SuperSonics remained in Seattle. Early in the 1970/71 season, Rule tore his Achilles tendon and could no longer participate in the game for the rest of the year.

Arrival of Spencer Haywood

Point Guard Lee Winfield in a game against the Atlanta Hawks (on a stadium newspaper from 1972).

Wilkens was voted best player in the All-Star Game in 1971 . Even more important for the team was the announcement by Sam Schulman that he had managed to sign the ABA Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player , Spencer Haywood . In the following season, the SuperSonics managed for the first time a positive game balance at the end of the season (47:35). Led by player-coach Wilkens and All-NBA First Team member Haywood ( Power Forward ), the team held 46:27 through March 3, but end-of-season injuries to Haywood, Dick Snyder and Don Smith resulted in eight losses in nine games. So they just failed at the first play-off participation.

For the 1972/73 season Wilkens was given up by an unpopular transfer to Cleveland . Without his leadership, the SuperSonics only achieved a score of 26:56. Even so, Haywood was re-elected to the All-NBA First Team, with a SuperSonics record of 29.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game.

1975–1983: The championship years

The following year, the legendary Bill Russell was hired as head coach . In 1975 he reached the play-offs for the first time with the Sonics. The team around Haywood, the guards Fred Brown and Slick Watts and the rookie center Tommy Burleson, defeated the Detroit Pistons in a three-game miniseries, but then retired after six games against the eventual NBA champions Golden State Warriors . In the following season, the SuperSonics gave Haywood to the New York Knicks and thus forced the remaining players to improve their performance on the offensive. The Guard Brown, now in his fifth season, was named to the team for the 1976 NBA All-Star Game and finished fifth in the league on points per game and free throw rate . Burleson's game got stronger, while Watts was named the NBA's best player in assists and steals and thus in the All-NBA Defensive First Team . The SuperSonics reached the play-offs again, but were eliminated after six games against the Phoenix Suns , despite strong performances from Brown (28.5 points per game) and Burleson (20.8 points per game).

Coach Russell left Seattle after the 1976/77 season. With the new head coach Bob Hopkins, the team only achieved a win / loss ratio of 5:17. Lenny Wilkens was reactivated to replace Hopkins and the team's fate immediately turned. Seattle won eleven of the first twelve games under Wilkens, finished the season 47:35 and thus won the Western Conference title. In the final series of the 1977/78 season they were defeated by the Washington Bullets despite three wins . Except for the loss of the Marvin Webster center to the New York Knicks, the Seattle roster remained largely intact. So they won the division title for the first time in the 1978/79 season.

Jack Sikma in 1978

In the subsequent play-offs, Seattle defeated the Phoenix Suns in seven competitive games, which led to a replay of last year's final series with the Washington Bullets. This time the SuperSonics won five games and won the NBA title for the only time in their history. The team included the strong backcourt series with Gus Williams and the final series MVP Dennis Johnson . In addition, the repeated all-star center Jack Sikma , small forward John Johnson, power forward Lonnie Shelton, Fred Brown and Paul Silas were instrumental in winning the title.

In the 1979/80 season, the SuperSonics achieved second place in the Pacific Division behind the Los Angeles Lakers with a win / loss ratio of 56:26 . Fred Brown won the NBA's first award for the top three-point shooter , Jack Sikma played the second of his career-spanning seven All-Star Games for Seattle, Gus Williams and Dennis Johnson were both nominated for the All-NBA Second Team , and Johnson was For the second time in a row represented in the All-NBA First Defensive Team. The SuperSonics reached the final of the Western Conference for the third time in a row, but lost to the Lakers after five games. It was the last time Williams and Johnson played together in the SuperSonics jersey, as Johnson joined the Phoenix Suns before the start of the 1980/81 season and Williams took a year off due to contract disputes. Seattle then slipped to last place in the Pacific Division with a ratio of 34:48. It was the only time in SuperSonics history that they finished a season last in their division. Williams ran again for Seattle in the 1981/82 season and the team achieved a respectable 52:30 and the following year 48:34 win / loss ratio.

In 1981, the franchise founded Sonics SuperChannel, the first pay-TV sports channel.

1983–1989: A period of decline

Most of the home games played by the SuperSonics in their own KeyArena .

In October 1983, franchise owner Sam Schulman sold the SuperSonics to entrepreneur Barry Ackerley. There was a period of athletic deterioration and mediocrity for the franchise. The following year, Fred Brown ended his career after 13 seasons with the Sonics. His career reflected much of SuperSonics' history at the time. He was on the same team as Rule and Wilkens during their first season and played an important role in Seattle's first play-offs and was an important sixth player during the championship streak years. In recognition of his many contributions to the team, Brown's jersey number (32) has not been re-awarded since 1986. Lenny Wilkens left Seattle after the 1984/85 season , and when Jack Sikma moved to the Milwaukee Bucks after the 1985/86 season , the last connection to the championship team (only coach Frank Furtado stayed in Seattle) was severed.

The second half of the 1980s saw few highlights for the SuperSonics. Only Tom Chambers ' All-Star Game MVP Award 1987, Seattle's surprising participation in the finals of the Western Conference in the same year and the performance of the trio Chambers, Xavier McDaniel and Dale Ellis testified to the quality of the team. During the 1987/88 season , the players each achieved about 20 points per game, with Ellis on 25.8, McDaniel on 21.4 and Chambers on 20.4 points. At the beginning of the 1988/89 season Chambers signed a new contract with Phoenix. Ellis improved his average points per game to 27.5 and was the second best three-point thrower. The SuperSonics ended the season on a 47:35 ratio and reached the second round of the play-offs.

1989–1998: The Payton / Kemp era

George Karl was the head coach of SuperSonics for six seasons (1992-1998).

A new era dawned at SuperSonics with the employment of power forward Shawn Kemp in 1989 and point guard Gary Payton in 1990. In addition, Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniel changed the franchise for the 1990/91 season . With the new coach George Karl in 1992, the sporting success in the regular season and the play-offs came back. With the continuous increase in performance of Payton and Kemp, the SuperSonics achieved a win / loss ratio of 55:27 in the 1992/93 season. Only after seven games did they lose in the final of the Western Conference against the Phoenix Suns.

The regular season of the 1993/94 season they ended with a franchise record of 63:19 to date, but lost in the first round of the play-offs against the Denver Nuggets . This made them the first NBA team that was eliminated as the first in a division against an eight-placed team in the first game of the play-offs. The Sonics moved into the Tacoma Dome during the renovation work at the Coliseum in the 1994/95 season and achieved second place in their division with 57:25. They were eliminated after four games against the Los Angeles Lakers again in the first round from the play-offs. For the 1995/96 season , the team returned to what is now the KeyArena .

Probably the strongest team of SuperSonics played with a franchise best of 64:18 in the 1995/96 season. With the players of the All-NBA Second Team Kemp and Payton, the German small forward and later assistant coach Detlef Schrempf , Power Forward Sam Perkins and the Shooting Guards Hersey Hawkins and Nate McMillan , the team reached the NBA finals, but lost against the Michael Jordan- led Chicago Bulls after six games. Seattle remained one of the top teams in the Western Conference for the next two seasons, winning 57 games in the 1996–97 season and 61 games in the 1997–98 season . They also won the Pacific Division title for the second and third time. At the end of the season, defense specialist Nate McMillan retired and disagreements between George Karl and management resulted in his departure from the franchise, despite winning the title of "Coach of the Year" in the same season. He was replaced by the former Sonics player Paul Westphal for the 1998/99 season .

1998–2008: A decade of effort

Vin Baker was an NBA All-Star player with the Sonics during the 1997–98 season.

In the 1998/99 season the SuperSonics sank again into a longer period of mediocrity. Westphal was released during the 2000/01 season and replaced on an interim basis by his assistant coach Nate McMillan . In the following season, McMillan was permanently hired as head coach. In the 2002/03 season, NBA All-Star Gary Payton moved to the Milwaukee Bucks. In the same season, Seattle failed to achieve a positive win / loss ratio for the first time in eleven years. It was the second longest hit streak ever from an NBA franchise.

Seattle surprised in the 2004/05 season by winning the sixth division title. Led by Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis , the team won 52 games and defeated the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the play-offs. In the semifinals of the Western Conference, the Sonics were eliminated after six games against the eventual NBA winner San Antonio Spurs and the successful trio Tony Parker , Tim Duncan and Manu Ginóbili . It was also Seattle's last participation in the play-offs. During the 2005 season, head coach and former Sonics player Nate McMillan left Seattle to take a well-paying coaching position with the Portland Trail Blazers . After his departure, the team ended the season with a negative ratio of 35:47.

2007–2008: Arrival of Kevin Durant

On May 22, 2007, the SuperSonics received the second pick in the 2007 NBA Draft , which was the highest draft position in the franchise. They chose Kevin Durant from the University of Texas at Austin . On June 28, they swapped Ray Allen and the 35th pick of the second round of the draft ( Glen Davis ) with the Boston Celtics for the rights of the fifth pick Jeff Green , Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West . On July 11th, Rashard Lewis joined the Orlando Magic . The SuperSonics received another draft pick of the second round and a US $ 9.5 million serious change exception ( trade exception ) of Orlando. On July 20, the SuperSonics used the exchange exception and a pick for the second draft round to acquire Kurt Thomas and two draft picks for the first from the Phoenix Suns.

In 2008, pre-season morale was low as talks about a new arena between the city of Seattle and the franchise failed. With the second overall pick from the NBA Draft - Kevin Durant - they had a strong player, but with the departure of Ray Allen, a good team was missing around the new rookie forward. They lost the first eight games under PJ Carlesimo and had a ratio of 3:14 after a month. Durant lived up to expectations, scoring 20.3 points per game and winning the Rookie of the Year award. At the end of the season , Seattle SuperSonics posted a historic negative performance for the franchise at 20:62. It should also be the last season in Seattle, as owner Clay Bennett wanted to relocate.

Relocation to Oklahoma City

Kevin Durant was the main player in the franchise until he left in 2016

From 2001 to 2006, was Starbucks - CEO Howard Schultz majority owner the Supersonics franchise, along with 58 partners and smaller shareholders at the Basketball Club of Seattle LLP . On July 18, 2006, Schultz sold SuperSonics and its Seattle Storm ( WNBA ) subsidiary to Professional Basketball Club LLC (PBC), a group of Oklahoma City entrepreneurs, for $ 350 million. The franchise was relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 and has been operating there under the name Oklahoma City Thunder ever since .

Before the sale, the Basketball Club of Seattle LLP tried to convince Washington state officials to contribute enough money to modernize the KeyArena. When the two parties could not agree, the PBC, chaired by entrepreneur Clay Bennett, bought the franchise. Schultz sold the team to Bennett's group, believing they would not move to Oklahoma City and instead stay in Seattle. Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said, “I find it presumptuous to suspect that Clay Bennett and his group won't keep the Seattle team in Seattle or elsewhere for a long, long time. It is presumptuous to suspect that they are relocating the franchise to Oklahoma City. [...] I understand that people think it's the most likely scenario, but that's just speculation. "

After a disagreement with local politicians and the new owners to build a $ 500 million arena in the Seattle suburb of Renton , Bennett's group notified the National Basketball Association (NBA) that they were moving to Oklahoma City Consider. In addition, the city of Seattle should terminate the ongoing lease for the KeyArena. When a judge dismissed this concern, Seattle sued Bennett's group for the performance of the lease that required the team to play at the KeyArena until 2010.

The NBA approved a possible move of SuperSonics to Oklahoma City on April 18 with 28-2 votes. Only Mark Cuban of the Dallas Mavericks and Paul Allen of Seattle's rival Portland Trail Blazers voted against the move. The move to Oklahoma City's Ford Center for the 2008/09 season was approved as soon as an agreement was reached with the city of Seattle.

On July 2, 2008, an agreement was reached that made the move possible under certain conditions. This included paying Seattle $ 45 million and the option of another $ 30 million in 2013 if a new franchise has not opened in the city by then. In addition, the name "SuperSonics" was not allowed to be used by Oklahoma City and the history of the franchise is used by Oklahoma City and all future NBA teams in Seattle. The team began playing under the name "Oklahoma City Thunder" in the 2008-09 season after being the third NBA franchise to relocate in the past decade.

In the months leading up to the deal, Seattle released email conversations from Bennett's Professional Basketball Club LLC , suggesting that several members of the group were expressing a desire to move the franchise to Oklahoma City prior to the sale. Earlier, Sonics co-owner Aubrey McClendon told Journal Record , an Oklahoma City newspaper, “We didn't buy the team to leave Seattle; we were hoping to get here, ”although Bennett denied knowing it. Seattle used these incidents to accuse the group of wrong intentions in the takeover negotiations. The city encouraged Schultz to file a lawsuit to annul the sale and seek ownership of the team as a beneficiary appointed by the court. For the NBA, Schultz's lawsuit was invalid, as he signed a clause prohibiting him from suing Bennett's group. Schultz withdrew the lawsuit before the start of the 2008-09 season.

In 2009, Seattle filmmakers called the Seattle SuperSonics Historical Preservation Society produced the documentary Sonicsgate , which documents the rise and fall of the SuperSonics franchise. The film focused on the more scandalous aspects of the team's departure from Seattle. It won the Best Sports Film Award at the 2010 Webby Awards .

Possible new franchise

Sacramento Kings

The then Mayor of Sacramentos and former professional basketball player Kevin Johnson fought to keep the Kings in his hometown.

In 2011, a group of investors, led by hedge fund manager Chris R. Hansen, spoke to Mike McGinn, Mayor of Seattle, about the possibility of investing in a new arena and hoping for the revival of SuperSonics. McGinn made Hansen an offer to take over the KeyArena for comparatively little money. Since the KeyArena was viewed by the NBA as unacceptable for gaming operations, the building would have had to be demolished in order to build a new arena at the same location. However, Hansen declined and gave the difficult traffic situation in the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood and around the Seattle Center as a reason to build a new arena in a different location.

Hansen began buying land near Safeco Field , in Seattle's SoDo industrial area . A “Stadium Transition Overlay District” was to be created, made up of the new arena, Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners MLB team , CenturyLink Field , the Seattle Seahawks ( NFL ) stadium and the Seattle Sounders MLS team . A short time later, Hansen McGinn and King County Director Dow Constantine proposed a joint arena in SoDo for basketball, ice hockey and entertainment. McGinn hired a stadium consultant on behalf of the city to assess the feasibility of such a project.

At the same time, rumors began that Hansen was trying to convince an existing franchise to move to Seattle. Most of the discussion centered on the Sacramento Kings , a flagging franchise that had been unsuccessfully working on a plan to replace the outdated Power Balance Pavilion for several years . While Hansen did not publicly disclose which team he was interested in, the rumors were so numerous that a civic initiative led by Sacramento Mayor and former professional basketball player Kevin Johnson wrote an open letter to Hansen asking him not to join the city team to pursue. At the same time, negotiations between McGinn, Constantine and Hansen continued to come to a “ Memorandum of Understanding ” that would form the basis for a public-private partnership in relation to the new arena.

On May 16, 2012, McGinn, Constantine and Hansen announced the proposed Memorandum of Understanding to the public. McGinn and Constantine insisted on a number of protections for the citizens of Seattle and King Counties, most notably that no public funds flow until Hansen and his investors have an NBA team to move to Seattle. The proposal included a financing model that would “self-finance” the project, in that no new taxes would have to be charged to finance the project and city bonds issued would be repaid through taxes and sales of the new arena. The Memorandum of Understanding was then submitted to the Seattle City Council and King County Council for review and approval.

The King County Council voted on July 30, 2012 to accept the Memorandum of Understanding and added to the proposal a collaboration with the Port of Seattle , securing the naming rights of SuperSonics, discounted ticket prices, support for the WNBA franchise Seattle Storm and the need for economic analysis. The approval was also subject to the proviso that all change requests from the Seattle city council, which had not yet been negotiated at the time, had to be approved separately by King Country. The Seattle City Council announced on the same day that they would also add additions to the proposal.

On September 11, 2012, Hansen and the Seattle City Council announced a preliminary agreement of a revised Memorandum of Understanding, which contained the amendments and new provisions, such as Hansen's personal guarantee to assume any additional costs of the construction himself. On the advice of the Port of Seattle, the Seattle Mariners, and local industry, a $ 40 million traffic improvement fund was raised, which should be filled by the arena's sales. All negotiating parties also agreed that no documents would be signed and construction could not begin before the environmental impact study required by the state has been completed. The city council voted 7-2 on September 24 for the Memorandum of Understanding with the amendments. The King Count Council unanimously approved Seattle's requests for changes on October 15. The final memorandum of understanding for the construction of the US $ 490 million arena was signed on October 16 by Mayor McGinn and Director Constantine with a term of five years.

In June 2012 it was announced that Hansen's investment partners included the then Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and the brothers Erik and Peter Nordstrom of the department store and mail order chain Nordstrom . Peter Nordstrom was previously a shareholder in SuperSonics under Howard Schultz. Wally Walker, former Sonics player and manager, was also part of Hansen's group. On January 9, 2013, media reports reported an imminent sale of most of the Sacramento Kings property rights to Hansen, Ballmer, the Nordstroms and Walker for $ 500 million. In addition, the team should move to Seattle for the 2013/14 season .

On January 20, 2013, multiple sources announced that the Kings owners, the Maloof family, had reached an agreement with Hansen's and Ballmer's group to sell 53% of the shares in the Kings franchise. The only thing missing is the approval of the NBA board of directors . The next day, the NBA, Hansen and the Maloofs confirmed the deal, which also included the 12% minority stake from owner Robert Hernreich. Based on the purchase price, the franchise was valued at $ 525 million. The Mayor of Sacramentos Johnson refuted the statement shortly afterwards and announced that the negotiations were not yet concluded and that Sacramento itself still has the opportunity to submit a counter-proposal to the NBA.

Basketball official David Stern , then NBA commissioner , confirmed on February 6 that the Maloofs had filed the formalities for the official request for the Kings to move from Sacramento to Seattle on behalf of the potential new ownership group. Johnson, with the help of Stern and the NBA, began putting together an alternate ownership group that would leave the Kings in Sacramento and help build a new arena. On February 26, Sacramento City Council approved negotiations with an unspecified group of investors. It was later revealed that the group was led by investor Ron Burkle and Mark Mastrov, founders of fitness chain 24 Hour Fitness. An initial counter-offer from the group was viewed by the NBA as "not comparable" and rejected. Burkle left the group in April due to a conflict with other business interests, but offered to continue to support the project as a contractor. Mastrov left the limelight to Indian businessman Vivek Ranadivé, founder and CEO of the software company TIBCO and shareholder of the Golden State Warriors , who then sought a financially stronger group of investors. Others such as Paul E. Jacobs, CEO of semiconductor maker Qualcomm , Sacramento builder Mark Friedman, former Facebook manager Chris Kelly and manufacturer Raj Bhathal joined the investment group.

Before the annual NBA board meeting, at which they agreed to sell the Kings to Hansen and Ballmer's group, members of the NBA's Finance and Franchise Relocation Committee met on April 3 in New York City to do the Seattle and the Sacramento Group were able to present their offers. A vote was only planned for the proposal by Hansen and Ballmer, the offer from Sacramento was only planned as a "backup". However, the NBA removed the vote from the agenda and postponed the vote for two weeks to investigate the filings. Despite other previous statements, a bidding war began between Hansen's and Ranadivé's groups. Hansen thereby increased the franchise value twice to a total of 625 million US dollars. Ranadivé offered the financial equalization waiver, a means that makes smaller teams like the Kings financially more stable.

With the meeting being postponed to mid-May, the groups were asked to give another short presentation to the full relocation committee on April 29th. This committee voted against a move. When the board of directors met in Dallas on May 15 , both groups re-presented their plans for the franchise. The Board of Directors voted 22-8 against moving the Kings from Sacramento to Seattle. Since the Seattle Group's proposal had the move to their city as the most important basis, the NBA rejected the sale without further voting.

After initial concerns, the Maloof family and Hernreich agreed on May 17 to sell their Kings shares (65% on a franchise valuation of $ 535 million) to Ranadivé's group.

Milwaukee Bucks

In September 2013, NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver , later David Stern's successor, announced that the Milwaukee Bucks would have to replace their outdated BMO Harris Bradley Center due to its small size and lack of equipment. The team was still tied to the location and the NBA until the 2016/17 season , which however announced that it did not want to extend the contract. Since the counties around Milwaukee rejected tax breaks for the construction of a new arena, rumors began to form that the owner of the franchise Herb Kohl would like to sell shares or the whole team. Seattle was one of the potential buyers.

On April 16, 2014, it was announced that Kohl had sold the franchise to New York hedge fund investors Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens for a total of $ 550 million. The agreement also stipulated that both Kohl and the new owners would each have to raise $ 100 million to build a new arena. During the sales negotiations, it was revealed that Hansen and Ballmer had expressed an interest in buying the team for $ 600 million, but never made an official offer as Kohl insisted on keeping the franchise in his hometown of Milwaukee. With the completion of the Fiserv Forum in 2018, the Milwaukee hall problem has now been solved and the future of this location has been secured for the time being.

Atlanta Hawks

Thomas Tull , 2014

On January 2, 2015, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that the Atlanta Hawks' owning company is putting the franchise up for sale. At the beginning only the entrepreneur and majority owner Bruce Levenson offered his share for sale; later, however, the other shareholders followed. On January 6th, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that Chris Hansen and film producer Thomas Tull (shareholder of the NFL team Pittsburgh Steelers ) each want to make an offer to buy the Hawks to bring the franchise to Seattle. However, the NBA insisted that the Hawks would have to stay in Atlanta after a sale. In addition, there was a potential penalty of US $ 75 million from the city of Atlanta and Fulton County if the Philips Arena contract was terminated before 2017. The Hawks were sold to a group of investors in June of that year, led by Apollo Global Management founder Tony Ressler.

Talks about a new arena

On May 2, 2016, the Seattle City Council surprisingly voted 5: 4 against the eviction of a property on Occidental Avenue South in the SoDo district, which would have enabled a connection to Hansen's property and is therefore important for a possible new arena building. The vote was perceived as a significant step backwards for the Memorandum of Understanding between Hansen, the City and King County, which expires in November 2017. In October 2016, Chris Hansen announced that he wanted to finance the arena without public funds. On November 14th, Russell Wilson , quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks , announced that he would participate in the effort to build a new arena. In February 2017, Hansen's group submitted a new proposal to the local traffic office to clear the possible area. Despite the city's blockade and the renovation of the KeyArena, which has meanwhile been decided, Hansen's team will continue to fight for the construction of a Sonics Arena in SoDo in 2019, for which Hansen has now bought more land at the planned location.

Renovation work on the KeyArena

During the talks about the construction of a new arena there were also plans by another group of investors to renovate the KeyArena. In May 2017, two alternative proposals for converting the old arena were presented by the Anschutz Entertainment Group and the Oak View Group. Managers from various NBA and NHL teams support the renovation project. On December 4, 2017, one day after the deal with SoDo investor Chris Hansen expired, Seattle City Council voted 7-1 for the Oak View Group's renovation of the KeyArena, with one person not voting that day was available. While the renovation will focus on equipping a new expansion team for the National Hockey League (NHL), interest in reviving the SuperSonics remains. Hansen and his co-investors are still of the opinion that a new arena should be considered as a back-up plan for the future of SuperSonics, but they are supporting the renovation to acquire a possible NBA team. The KeyArena renovation is slated to begin later in 2018, with the renovation expected to be completed by 2020, before upcoming seasons in the NBA and NHL begin. The Oak View Group investor group around billionaire David Bonderman and film producer Jerry Bruckheimer submitted an official application to the NHL on February 13, 2018 to establish an expansion team. The KeyArena renovation will cost $ 600 million. The purchase of rights to an NHL team is valued at $ 650 million.


The final iteration of the jerseys.
The team mascot Squatch (1993–2008) wears the Sonics home jersey from 2005.

The first jerseys of the Seattle SuperSonics had the word "Sonics" written on the chest in the same font as the Cincinnati Royals (now Sacramento Kings). The away kits were green with yellow letters, while the home kits were white and the letters were green. In 1995 the colors red and orange were added, yellow elements were removed. These jerseys were used for six seasons. It featured a new Sonics logo on the front and an alternative one on the pants. The home shirts had green stripes on the right side and on the shorts, while the green away kit had a red stripe pattern.

The final version of the kits was worn between the 2001/02 and 2007/08 seasons . They were commissioned by franchise owner Howard Schultz and designed by the Seattle design agency Hornall Anderson, part of the Omnicom group. The home jerseys were white with a green and gold border and the word “SONICS” on the chest. The away jerseys had dark green as the primary color and had white / gold accents and the word “SEATTLE” on the chest. The third alternative jerseys were gold with green and white borders and had the word “SONICS” on the chest. These jerseys were designed based on the jerseys designed between the 1975/76 and 1994/95 seasons , which had a similar style.


The SuperSonics' biggest rivals , due to their proximity, were the Portland Trail Blazers . The nickname for the relationship between the two teams was the I-5 rivalry (I-5 Rivalry) , based on Interstate 5 , which connects the two cities (distance about 280 km). The rivalry was relatively even, with both teams each winning an NBA title. In total, Seattle won 98 games against Portland, while these won 94.

Furthermore, the SuperSonics had a rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers , especially due to the frequent pairing within the Pacific Division of the Western Conference . The Lakers' continued success meant that regular season games often decided on position in the play-offs and so often played against each other there.


NBA winner
Conference Winner
Division winner
Play-off participation
season Conference Conf. Space. division Div. Space. Victories Defeats % Wins Games Behind Play-offs Awards Head coach
1967/68 - - Western film 5. 23 59 28% 33 - - Al Bianchi
1968/69 - - Western film 6th 30th 52 36.6% 25th - - Al Bianchi
1969/70 - - Western film 5. 36 46 43.9% 12 - - Lenny Wilkens
1970/71 Western film 8th. Pacific 4th 38 44 46.3% 10 - Lenny Wilkens
( AMVP )
Lenny Wilkens
1971/72 Western film 6th Pacific 3. 47 35 53.7% 22nd - - Lenny Wilkens
1972/73 Western film 8th. Pacific 4th 26th 56 31.7% 34 - - Tom Nissalke
Bucky Buckwalter
1973/74 Western film 6th Pacific 3. 36 46 43.9% 11 - - Bill Russell
1974/75 Western film 4th Pacific 2. 43 39 52.4% 5 1st round: 2: 1 vs. Detroit Pistons
Conference semi-finals: 2-4 vs. Golden State Warriors
- Bill Russell
1975/76 Western film 3. Pacific 2. 43 39 52.4% 16 Conference semi-finals: 2-4 vs. Phoenix Suns Slick Watts
( JWKC )
Bill Russell
1976/77 Western film 7th Pacific 4th 40 42 48.8% 13 - - Bill Russell
1977/78 Western film 4th Pacific 3. 47 35 54.9% 11 1st round: 2: 1 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Conference semi-finals: 4-2 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Conference Final: 4-2 vs. Denver Nuggets
NBA Finals: 3-4 Washington Bullets
- Bob Hopkins
Lenny Wilkens
1978/79 Western film 1. Pacific 1. 52 30th 63.4% - Conference semi-finals: 4: 1 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
conference finals: 4: 3 vs. Phoenix Sun's
NBA final: 4-1 Washington Bullets
Dennis Johnson
( FMVP )
Lenny Wilkens
1979/80 Western film 3. Pacific 2. 56 26th 68.3% 4th 1st round: 2: 1 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Conference semifinals: 4: 3 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Conference Final: 1: 4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Lenny Wilkens
1980/81 Western film 10. Pacific 6th 34 48 41.5% 23 - - Lenny Wilkens
1981/82 Western film 3. Pacific 2. 52 30th 63.4% 5 1st round: 2: 1 vs. Houston Rockets
Conference semi-finals: 1-4 vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Lenny Wilkens
1982/83 Western film 4th Pacific 3. 48 34 58.5% 10 1st round: 0: 2 vs. Portland Trail Blazers Zollie Volchok
( EOY )
Lenny Wilkens
1983/84 Western film 5. Pacific 3. 42 40 51.2% 12 1st round: 2: 3 vs. Dallas Mavericks - Lenny Wilkens
1984/85 Western film 10. Pacific 4th 31 51 37.8% 31 - - Lenny Wilkens
1985/86 Western film 11. Pacific 5. 31 51 37.8% 31 - - Bernie Bickerstaff
1986/87 Western film 7th Pacific 4th 39 43 47.6% 26th 1st round: 3: 1 vs. Dallas Mavericks
Conference Semifinals: 4-2 vs. Houston Rockets
Conference Final: 0-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Tom Chambers
( AMVP )
Dale Ellis
( MIP )
Bernie Bickerstaff
1987/88 Western film 7th Pacific 3. 44 38 53.7% 18th 1st round: 2: 3 vs. Denver nuggets - Bernie Bickerstaff
1988/89 Western film 4th Pacific 3. 47 35 57.3% 10 1st round: 3: 1 vs. Houston Rockets
Conference semi-finals: 0-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- Bernie Bickerstaff
1989/90 Western film 9. Pacific 4th 41 41 50% 22nd - - Bernie Bickerstaff
1990/91 Western film 8th. Pacific 5. 41 41 50% 22nd 1st round: 2: 3 vs. Portland Trail Blazers - KC Jones
1991/92 Western film 6th Pacific 4th 47 35 57.3% 10 1st round: 3: 1 vs. Golden State Warriors
Conference semi-finals: 1: 4 vs. Utah Jazz
- KC Jones
Bob Kloppenburg
George Karl
1992/93 Western film 3. Pacific 2. 55 27 67.1% 7th 1st round: 3: 2 vs. Utah Jazz
Conference semifinals: 4: 3 vs. Houston Rockets
Conference Final: 3-4 vs. Phoenix Suns
- George Karl
1993/94 Western film 1. Pacific 1. 63 19th 76.8% - 1st round: 2: 3 vs. Denver nuggets Bob Whitsitt
( EOY )
George Karl
1994/95 Western film 4th Pacific 2. 57 25th 69.5% 2 1st round: 1: 3 vs. Los Angeles Lakers - George Karl
1995/96 Western film 1. Pacific 1. 64 18th 78% - 1st round: 3: 1 vs. Sacramento Kings
Conference semi-finals : 4-0 vs. Houston Rockets
conference finals: 4: 3 vs. Utah Jazz
NBA Finals: 2-4 Chicago Bulls
Gary Payton
( DPOY )
George Karl
1996/97 Western film 2. Pacific 1. 57 25th 69.5% - 1st round: 3: 2 vs. Phoenix Suns
Conference semifinals: 3-4 vs. Houston Rockets
- George Karl
1997/98 Western film 2. Pacific 1. 61 21st 74.4% - 1st round: 3: 2 vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
Conference Semifinals: 1-4 vs. Los Angeles Lakers
- George Karl
1998/99 Western film 9. Pacific 5. 25th 25th 50% 10 - - Paul Westphal
1999/2000 Western film 4th Pacific 4th 45 37 54.9% 22nd 1st round: 2: 3 vs. Utah Jazz - Paul Westphal
2000/01 Western film 10. Pacific 5. 44 38 53.7% 12 - - Paul Westphal
Nate McMillan
2001/02 Western film 7th Pacific 4th 45 37 54.9% 16 1st round: 2: 3 vs. San Antonio Spurs - Nate McMillan
2002/03 Western film 10. Pacific 5. 40 42 48.8% 19th - - Nate McMillan
2003/04 Western film 12. Pacific 5. 37 45 45.1% 19th - - Nate McMillan
2004/05 Western film 3. Northwest 1. 52 30th 63.4% - 1st round: 4: 1 vs. Sacramento Kings
Conference semi-finals: 2-4 vs. San Antonio Spurs
- Nate McMillan
2005/06 Western film 11. Northwest 3. 35 47 42.7% 9 - - Bob Weiss
Bob Hill
2006/07 Western film 14th Northwest 5. 31 51 37.8% 20th - - Bob Hill
2007/08 Western film 15th Northwest 5. 20th 62 24.4% 35 - Kevin Durant
( ROY )
PJ Carlesimo
  1. The season only started in February 1999 due to a lockout and all teams only had 50 games.

Total statistics

statistics Victories Defeats % Wins
Regular season (1967-2008) 1,745 1,585 52.4%
Play-offs (1967-2008) 107 110 49.3%
In summary (1967-2008) 1,852 1,695 52.2%


Jersey numbers that are no longer assigned

Jersey numbers that are no longer assigned
No. player position Playtime
1 Gus Williams Guard 1977-1984
10 Nate McMillan Guard 1986-1998 1
19th Lenny Wilkens Guard 1968–1972 2
24 Spencer Haywood Forward 1971-1975
32 Fred Brown Guard 1971-1984
43 Jack Sikma center 1977-1986
1 Also head coach from 2000 to 2005.
2 Also head coach from 1969–1972 and 1977–1985.

Members of the Basketball Hall of Fame

SuperSonics player and coach in the Hall of Fame
No. Surname position Playtime admission
19th Lenny Wilkens 1st G 1968-1972 1989
44 David Thompson F / G 1982-1984 1996
33 Patrick Ewing 2 C. 2000-2001 2008
24 Dennis Johnson 3 G 1976-1980 2010
Gary Payton G 1990-2003 2013
30th Šarūnas Marčiulionis G 1994-1995 2014
24 Spencer Haywood F / C 1970-1975 2015
No. Surname position Period admission
- Bill Russell 4 Head coach 1973-1977 1975
- KC Jones 4th Head coach 1990-1992 1989
- Lenny Wilkens 1st Head coach 1969–1972
1 In total, Wilkens was inducted into the Hall of Fame three times - as a player, coach and member of the US Olympic team in 1992 .
2 Overall, Ewing was inducted into the Hall of Fame twice - as a player and member of the US Olympic team in 1992.
3 Posthumously included.
4 Accepted as a player but never played for the SuperSonics.

Members of the FIBA ​​Hall of Fame

SuperSonics player in the FIBA Hall of Fame
No. Surname position Playtime admission
30th Šarūnas Marčiulionis G 1994-1995 2015


History of the head coaches
Surname Period
Al Bianchi 1967-1969
Lenny Wilkens 1969-1972
Tom Nissalke 1972-1973
Bucky Buckwalter 1972-1973
Bill Russell 1973-1977
Bob Hopkins 1977
Lenny Wilkens 1977-1985
Bernie Bickerstaff 1985-1990
KC Jones 1990-1992
Bob Kloppenburg 1991
George Karl 1991-1998
Paul Westphal 1998-2000
Nate McMillan 2000-2005
Bob Weiss 2005
Bob Hill 2006-2007
PJ Carlesimo 2007-2008

General manager

History of the General Manager
Surname Period
Don Richman 1967-1968
Dick Confused 1968-1970
Bob Houbregs 1970-1973
Bill Russell 1973-1977
Zollie Volchok 1977-1983
Les Habegger 1983-1985
Lenny Wilkens 1985-1986
Bob Whitsitt 1986-1994
Wally Walker 1994-2001
Rick Sund 2001-2007
Sam Presti 2007-2008

Web links

Commons : Seattle SuperSonics  - Collection of Images, Videos, and Audio Files

Individual evidence

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