Seattle Growth Podcast 2.1: Learning from the Sonics’ departure

Why should you care about a potential return of the Seattle Supersonics?

The story is more complex than you might imagine. Yes, there is considerable enthusiasm for bringing professional basketball back to Seattle. But the team’s potential return requires addressing some tough questions for every Seattleite. Will your tax dollars go toward subsidizing an NBA-ready arena? Where would a new arena go? How would an arena affect real estate, jobs, traffic, and other aspects of life in the city? How can the positive effects of an NBA franchise be maximized?

The second season of the Seattle Growth Podcast will explore these issues and more. But first, a look back at the history of the Seattle Supersonics to provide some context to the debate over the club’s potential return.

In this episode, Hall of Fame Sonics player and coach Lenny Wilkens shares why he wants the NBA to return to Seattle and recalls the city’s first professional sports championship. Craig Kinzer opens up about his experience as a member of the Sonics ownership group that sold the team to Clay Bennett’s Oklahoma City investment group in 2006. And litigator Paul Lawrence explains what we can learn from the city’s failure to hold Bennett’s group to the obligations of the team’s Key Arena lease.

Also weighing in are City Council member Tim Burgess, Nordstrom co-president Pete Nordstrom, former Sonics player and team executive Wally Walker, and industrial artist Steve Hussey.

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The Seattle Growth Podcast is hosted and produced by Jeff Shulman, an associate professor of marketing and the Marion B. Ingersoll Professor at the UW Foster School of Business.