Posts Tagged ‘Gary Payton’

seattle-sonics

Seattle could someday have an NBA team again.

In a Players’ Tribune interview with Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard C.J. McCollum last week, commissioner Adam Silver said it’s possible the league will bring a franchise back to the city, but he doesn’t know when.

“I think it’s just a question of when the right time is to seriously start thinking about expansion,” said Silver.

“I don’t want to put a precise timeline on it, but it’s inevitable at some point that we’ll start looking at the growth of franchises. That’s always been the case in this league, and Seattle will no doubt be on a short list of cities we’ll look at,” he added.

The Seattle SuperSonics entered the league in 1967-68 and captured an NBA championship in 1979. The club relocated to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder.

Several Sonics greats have been strong proponents of the city regaining a team. Gary Payton said last year that Seattle “deserves” an NBA team and he’d be interested in becoming an owner, while Ray Allen echoed those sentiments in May.

“I still can’t believe that there is no basketball in Seattle,” he wrote in a post on Instagram. “This city is too great not to have a hoops squad. Come on everybody we need to rally and bring the NBA back to Seattle.”

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It’s hard to argue that the current brand of NBA basketball isn’t far more tame than it was during the eighties and nineties. There was more leeway for players to be overly physical and ruthless 30 years ago. Today, player safety has become more of a priority.

Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton played 17 seasons in the league for five different franchises, with his most prominent run coming as a member of the Seattle Supersonics – now the Oklahoma City Thunder. Nicknamed “The Glove,” Payton terrorized opposing guards on the defensive end with a relentless tenacity paired with a knack for trash talk that very few could come close to emulating.

So, how would Payton fare playing the game in 2015-16? Not very well, he thinks:

Payton’s talent alone would make him an obvious threat had he competed in what he referred to on Twitter as the “soft” era, but considering the nine-time All-Star’s playing history, his in-your-face brand of defense and psychological tactics would have cost him a few dollars along the way.