The Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City right before the 2008-09 season, changing their name to the Thunder in the process.
After over 40 years in Seattle, the franchise was entirely transformed and once-raucous Key Arena fell silent. The move followed three consecutive losing seasons, including an abysmal 20-62 final season under head coach PJ Carlesimo. But it wasn’t always bad. The Sonics won an NBA title in 1979, led primarily by Dennis Johnson, Jack Sikma and Gus Williams. Seattle won three conference titles and six division titles as well. And the Sonics had a number of extremely exciting years under Hall of Famer Gary Payton and six-time All-Star Shawn Kemp—a tandem appropriately dubbed the “Sonic Boom.”
The franchise’s departure from Seattle back in 2008 left longtime fans understandably bitter. Ever since, there has been a growing push to bring the team back to its original hometown.
The movement seems to have garnered more support of late, partially due to the help of famous athletes and one flashy jacket.
Most notably, Seattle Seahawks stars Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman have become involved in the campaign. In a video produced by Bleacher Report, Sherman gave his reasons why the NBA should revive the Sonics. Antonio Brown, Pro-Bowl wide receiver for the Steelers, also sent out this tweet:
— Antonio Brown (@AB84) February 28, 2015
Both posts show Sherman wearing a fresh throwback Sonics jacket by Starter. His message has been echoed by others, including his quarterback. Back in March, Wilson posted a tweet of his own:
What do I have to do to bring the Sonics back to the @NBA
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) March 8, 2015
The post was followed by a Sports Illustrated article with an image displaying Wilson in the same Sonics gear and the photo you see at the top of this post. Even athletes without a central connection to Seattle—like Floyd Mayweather—have been spotted in the jacket. Here’s a tweet from Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas (himself a huge supporter of bringing the Sonics back to his home town of Seattle), in which Floyd is laced in the Starter Sonics jacket:
The jacket’s growing popularity as a fashion statement won’t alone bring the franchise back, but it stands as a symbol of a growing plea to bring the Sonics back to Seattle.
Will it ever happen? Only time will tell. But if you want to get in on the movement, you can cop a Sonics throwback Starter jacket at VILLA right now.
Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images for The Players’ Tribune