Payton Predicts NBA Franchise In Seattle By 2011

by October 13, 2008

by Ryne Nelson

The return of an NBA franchise to Seattle seems like a no-brainer. Folks here at the SLAM Dome are even putting together a mini-documentary of sorts about the Thunder aftershock. I had an early peek, and the scenes are equal parts fascinating and angering.

Point being Seattle is a huge basketball town, and hoops fans will come in droves to support a team if ever one moves to the Pacific Northwest. Gary Payton spoke yesterday to the Seattle Post-Intellegencer, and well…just read what he said.

“I think I made that clear, I didn’t play in Oklahoma, so it wouldn’t be anything that I’m looking forward to because I didn’t play for the Oklahoma Thunder,” he said at the Seahawks game on Sunday, where he raised the 12th Man flag.

“I don’t think that Oklahoma should get the benefits of seeing me raise my number. I think these people here are the people who have seen me and made me who I am.”

As we know, there currently isn’t a Seattle Sonics franchise, and Payton can’t have his number retired by a team that doesn’t exist. Does that worry the best player in Sonics history?

“I’m inside with the NBA a little bit; I think before 2011 a team will be here,” he said. “A lot of teams want to move and I think Seattle’s got a good shot at it.”

Payton has been a Sonic supporter from early on, and it’s nice to see him supporting the city and team for whom he played 999 games. Like the rest of Seattle, Payton’s staying patient until pro ball is back where it belongs.