SEATTLE — The hats and shirts keep selling which is pretty amazing considering the Sonics no longer exist and haven’t played a game in more than fourteen years.
“Great fan base and you know it’s just through the power of the fans that the brand stayed alive,” said Joe Munson of the retailer Simply Seattle.
For Simply Seattle, the Sonics brand is still very much alive and so is the dream of one day having the team back in Seattle. A mission that former Sonics head coach George Karl is spearheading, in a way.
“I think we’re all dedicated to try hard and do the right thing to get the Sonics back into town,” Karl said.
Karl spent Monday back in Seattle for the NBA exhibition game between the LA Clippers and the Portland Trailblazers.
“He’s considered one of the best coaches Seattle’s ever had and he’s considered a fan favorite to this day. So if he’s in town you know it’s a big event,” said Munson, describing Karl.
Karl calls Monday’s game a chance for the city to prove to NBA ownership that they’re ready for a professional basketball team.
“In my mind it’s a 'when' but again the process is not in my hands. It’s a little bit in the league but I think if the fans in Seattle can show the league, we’re ready to bring them back. I think the Kraken has shown I think most of the world that expansion in Seattle can work, will work,” Karl said.
Monday’s game may be in the same physical location, but the arena is hardly the same as where the Sonics played.
“The year we beat Utah in game seven is probably the number one memory one of the best games I think I’ve ever been involved with,” Karl said.
A one and a half billion dollars, and an NHL team later – fans hope it’s only a matter of time before professional basketball makes a permanent return to the emerald city.