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Who Were The Seattle Supersonics?

As the first Seattle based pro sports team, they were more commonly referred to as the Sonics. They joined the league in 1967 playing in various places, but the majority at Key Arena. The team was named after the Supersonic Transport (jet), which was being developed at Boeing’s Seattle based facilities. The 60’s seasons were unsuccessful and saw player Lenny Wilkins become a player/coach in 1970.

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In the 70’s, the team began to show promise, starting with the 71-72 season which was their first winning season, going 47-35, but a late season slide prevented them from entering the franchises first playoffs. In 1973/74, legendary player Bill Russell took over as head coach and took the team to the playoffs in 1975. He left following the 76/77, and the team continued to improve, leading up to the 1979/80 season which they won their first division title and the NBA Championship.

The 80s began the way the 70s left off, with a 56-26 record, good for second place in their division, making it to the Western Conference finals for the Third straight year. 1983 marks the start of mediocrity for the Sonics, aside from a western finals appearance in 1987.

The 90s were highlighted by the young dynamic duo of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp with the 1993-94 season producing a first place finish only to lose to the Denver Nuggets in the first round. 1994-95 saw them produce a franchise best 64-18 record and a trip to the finals, only to lose to the Bulls and some guy named Jordan. The club enjoyed up and down seasons for the rest of their existence.

Why The Supersonics Relocated

In 2006, then team owner Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, failed in his attempt to get $500 million funding for a new arena from the Washington government, sold the team to Oklahoma businessman Clayton Bennett, for $350 million, which included the WNBA’s Storm. Schultz also couldn’t get funding from the government, and eventually moved to Oklahoma.

Notable Supersonics Players

Lenny Wilkins G 1968-1972
Bill Russell COACH 1973-1977
Spencer Haywood F/C 1971-1974
Fred Brown G 1971-1984
Paul Silas F 1977-1980
Dennis Johnson 1976-1980
Patrick Ewing C 2000-2001
Shawn Kemp PF 1989-1997
Gary Payton PG 1990-2003
Xavier McDaniel F 1985-1990
Detlef Schrempf F 1993-1999
Sam Perkins C 1993-1998
Nate McMillan G 1986-1998 COACH 2000-2005
Ray Allen SG 2003-2007
Rashard Lewis F 1998-2007
Kevin Durant 2007- Present

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