Episode 44: Seattle SuperSonics Pt 1 w/ Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson
The Seattle SuperSonics played in the Pacific and NW divisions of the Western Conference from 1967 until 2008 and were NBA Champions in 1979. The franchise won three Western Conference titles (1978, 1979, 1996) and six divisional titles (1979, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005). After the 2007–08 season ended, the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City, and were renamed the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lenny Wilkens, Gus Williams, Finals MVP Dennis Johnson, Jack Sikma, Fred Brown... Tom Chambers, Xavier McDaniel, Dale Ellis... Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, Sam Perkins, Detlef Schrempf, Nate McMillan... while the franchise will always be fondly remembered for it's incredible on-court memories, the full story of Seattle and the SuperSonics, chockfull of mismanagement, personal woes, greed, deceit and inept ownership, is ultimately one of heartbreak and loss.
Jeremy Engdahl-Johnson joins the pod for a two-part deep-dive detailing 40 years of wins and losses for professional basketball in Seattle.
Seattle Seahawks (3:15), the Kingdome (10:15) and Seattle sports teams pecking order (13:00).
1975-1983, CHAMPIONSHIP YEARS
Gus Williams, Finals MVP Dennis Johnson, Jack Sikma, Fred Brown (17:00), Slick Watts (18:30), NBA players from Seattle (19:15).
1983-1989, POST-TITLE DECLINE
Barry Ackerley (21:00), Tom Chambers (22:15), the NBA's first unrestricted free agent (23:40), Xavier McDaniel (27:10), X-Man vs. Scottie Pippen (28:00) and Dale Ellis (29:20).
1989-1998, THE PAYTON AND KEMP ERA
Drafting Shawn Kemp (30:00), Kemp's failed collegiate eligibility and Proposition 48 (30:40), #17 overall in the 1989 NBA Draft (31:30), the influence of GM Bob Whitsitt aka "Trader Bob" (33:00), Kemp and X-Man (34:10), Michael Cage (36:10), roster volatility (38:00), Trader Bob, gambling on personalities, the Sonics and Jail Blazers (38:45), Kendall Gill (40:10), drafting Gary Payton #2 overall out of Oregon State (41:30), Bo Kimble and Loyola Marymount (42:30), Payton was a 9x All-Star, 1996 DPOY and all-time great trash-talker (43:45), Nate McMillan aka "Mr. Sonic" (46:30), the influence of George Karl (49:00), hard-nosed defense (50:00), media perception and fan opinion of George Karl (50:50), Sam Perkins shooting 3's (51:30), seeing Sam Perkins aka "The Big Smooth" around Seattle (52:45), George Karl and the Sonics get to the Western Conference Finals in 1992-93, lose to the Suns in Game 7 (54:00), arrival of Detlef Schrempf and Kendall Gill in the offseason of 1993 (55:30), hope and optimism heading into the 1993-94 season (56:30), April 5, 1994: Kurt Cobain commits suicide / May 7, 1994: Sonics lose to the Nuggets in Rd 1 (57:20), Sonics lose in an OT heartbreaker to the Nuggets in Game 5 of Rd. 1 in 1993-94 (1:00:50), another Rd 1 loss to the Lakers in 1994-95, Kemp signs a contract extension (1:05:00), making a run to the NBA Finals in 1995-96 (1:07:00), the 1996-97 and 1997-98 seasons (1:08:15).
SHAWN KEMP TRADE / DEMISE
Disgruntled Kemp on a bad contract (1:08:50), rumors circulate and fan confusion about the Sonics signing Jim McIlvaine (1:09:50), Kemp traded to the Cavs (1:11:50), Kemp balloons to 315 lbs (1:12:40), the tragedy of Vin Baker (1:14:00), Kemp traded to Portland, personal demons (1:16:00), Seattle fans and Kemp today (1:17:45).
1998-2008, STRUGGLES, DURANT, MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Rashard Lewis (1:19:00), Gary Payton traded for Ray Allen (1:21:40), Hurricane Katrina and the Hornets temporarily relocated to OKC (1:22:10).
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