SuperSonics Basketball: Moments In Time
With the pending return of professional basketball in Seattle, it makes you contemplate. It makes you contemplate the players, the coaches, the trial, and the tribulations of your beloved team. It makes you dig up memories of the past of players and moments of the past.
The Seattle SuperSonics have a rich history and so much to look back on. I may be turning 28 next month, but I have done my research like the fanatic I am. I watched old, old games. I watched the 1978 and 1979 series that brought the Sonics heartbreak and then jubilation.
In the midst of all of those moments and events, it becomes extremely hard to pick just a few of the NBA players as your favorites.
That is exactly what our Managing Editor “Q” asked me to do. I debated and went back and forth, literally for hours, from players to the far past to players from the recent past to try and come up with my list. I learned that there will be more than just a starting 5 in the future.
You just can’t do that. (This is not over, Q!)
With that being said, I present you the list of my favorite five Super-Sonics ever, complete with years played in Seattle.
PG – Gary Payton (1990-2003)
Career Stats: Payton averaged 16.3 points, 6.7 assists, 1.8 steals, 3.9 rebounds, and shot .466 from the field per game in his career.
Sonics records held: Career – Games (999), Minutes Played (35.858), Points (18,207), Field Goals Made/Attempted (7,292/15,562), 3Pts Attempted (2,855), Assists (7,384), Steals (2,107).
Gary Payton is still the face of Seattle Sonics basketball. The Glove terrorized teams with his stellar defense and his ability to shoot or drive the lane. His court vision was second to none as he made some brilliant passes and mastered the alley-oop toss with Shawn Kemp. Also known for his trash talk, he was always able to keep games interesting with his play or his mouth.
Sadly, the Payton 20 jersey is the only Sonics jersey I have ever owned. It is being kept in a safe place for the time being.
SG – Fred Brown (1971-1984)
Career Stats: Brown averaged 14.6 points, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 2.7 rebounds, and shot .478 from the field per game in his career.
Sonics records held: Single Game – Points (58 vs Golden State 3/23/74), Steals – (10 vs Philadelphia 12/3/76)
While I was not alive to see Downtown Freddie Brown go to work, I have watched numerous highlights and vintage games. This man was nicknamed ‘Downtown’ for a reason, folks. His jumper was beautiful and it earned him recognition all around. Part of one of the winningest Sonics teams in franchise history, Fred Brown will forever be known as Downtown.
SF – Nate McMillan (1986-1998)
Career Stats: McMillan averaged 5.9 points, 6.1 assists, 1.9 steals, 4.0 rebounds, and shot .443 from the field per game in his career.
Sonics records held: Single Game – Assists (25 vs LA Clippers 2/23/87)
Nate was a stoic leader. He wasn’t full of expressions or a huge trash talker like some of the more prolific scorers in franchise history, but his game did all the talking he needed done. Nate had one of the best silent careers of his time and went onto lead the charge in Portland after his full playing career was done in Seattle.
PF – Shawn Kemp (1989-1997)
Career Stats: Kemp averaged 14.6 points, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 8.4 rebounds, 1.2 blocks and shot .488 from the field per game in his career.
Sonics records held: Career – Free Throws Attempted (3,808), Offensive Rebounds (2,145), Blocks (959)
Shawn Kemp is one of the most explosive players to ever don the green for the Sonics. His thunderous slam dunks were known throughout the league and recognized by many as some of the greatest of the slam dunk era. His height helped him stay in the faces of opponents and get lots of rebounds and blocks.
Reignman teamed well with Payton as the two combined to dominate teams just themselves. They combined to be one of the greatest duos in basketball history.
C – Jack Sikma (1977-1986)
Career Stats: Sikma averaged 15.6 points, 3.2 assists, 1.0 steal, 9.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks and shot .464 from the field per game in his career.
Sonics records held: Single Season – Rebounds (1,038 in 1981-1982) / Career – Free Throws Made (3,044), Defensive Rebounds (5,948), Total Rebounds (7,729) / Career Per Game – Defensive Rebounds (8.32)
Another player I was unable to see in his time, Sikma was a legend for the Sonics.
His height alone made the games unfair for opponents, but he had a great shot and could hit free throws for a big man, too.
Sikma is always mentioned as a legend in Seattle, but not many know of his prowess while with the SuperSonics.