Moments In Time
What follows are my extremely subjective favorite memories of the Seattle Supersonics.
5. The Miracle
I was at a game. Elementary school era. I don’t remember who the Sonics were playing, what the score of the game was, or any other distinguishing details.
What I do remember is Gary Payton driving hard to the hoop, taking an arm across the body, and lying in pain on the floor long after the whistle was blown.
The air evaporated from the building. A stretcher was wheeled out and a collective gasp spread through the arena.
Gary was loaded on, and tepid, traumatized applause began to ring out. He was whisked into the tunnel, and we all offered silent prayers to our respective Gods.
Suddenly, clear as day, a voice rang out from the bowels of stadium. A three word proclamation. Duck this bullshit. Just replace the “D” with an “F”.
Then Gary Payton jogged out of the tunnel and play resumed. The crowd collectively lost their mind.
This story seems too weird to be true. It could be a figment of my imagination, but I choose to believe that this actually happened in an actual game on this actual planet.
I choose to believe that Gary Payton broke both his legs that day and healed himself using only the infinite power of well-timed and powerfully delivered expletives.
4. The Playoff Game
I was at another game. Middle School era. It was a playoff game, the only one I’ve ever been to, and the Sonics were playing the Utah Jazz.
We were sitting in the absolute highest row of the arena. The only thing behind me was a concrete wall. Grandma was snoring to my right. Mom was reading a magazine to my left.
The players scurried back and forth below us like ants in a terrarium. The faraway sounds of the game echoed in a strange, sporadic rhythm, and minutes turned to hours, hours into days, in the soupy haze of the nosebleeds. I sweated through my shirt midway through the first quarter. It was glorious.
The Sonics won, confetti rained, high fives were exchanged, beer droplets sprayed to and fro, and still, Grandma slept.
3. The Blowout Loss
The Dallas Mavericks were in town. High School era.
My Dad and I sat right behind the Maverick’s bench. In the third quarter Don Nelson slowly rose from his seat.
He looked to the scoreboard, his shoulders hunched in shame, his face twisted in exasperation. He looked down his bench, disgust dripping from his lips like foam from rabies era Old Yeller.
His voice hoarse, his eyes rubbed red, he called out the name of his 7’ 6” behemoth, Shawn Bradley.
Shawn did not respond.
Don’s eyes bugged in disbelief. He called again, more forcefully.
Shawn was somewhere else. A happy place perhaps.
Don was driven to motion. He lumbered down the sideline, his teeth morphing into fangs and his nails melting and reforming into razor sharp claws. He reached his backup center, put his mouth to his ear, and let forth a tongue lashing so inspired that my hands began to gleefully clap together completely of their own accord.
Shawn leapt to his feet, eyes wild with fear, and charged towards the scorer’s table.
If you need a refresher on who exactly Don Nelson is, go watch highlights of his Warriors upsetting the Mavericks, his former team, in a hail of ill-advised threes during the 2007 playoffs. It’s always a good time to tumble down a rabbit hole of Baron Davis YouTube clips.
If you need a refresher on who exactly Shawn Bradley is, go rewatch Space Jam. It’s always a good time to rewatch Space Jam. Shawn is the really tall white guy.
Stay tuned for more…