Gary Payton is doing his best to bring the NBA back to Seattle

Gary Payton is hoping Seattle will get its NBA team back sooner or later and plans to be a big part of it whenever it happens.

Gary Payton spoke to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. And yes, Payton is trying to bring the NBA back to Seattle. How often does this conversation take place?

“All the time, all the time,” Payton enthusiastically told FanSided. “He (Silver) is trying his best. Everyone needs to understand that getting a team back is not that easy. Either we have to get a team from somewhere else and transfer it. I don’t think Adam is trying to do that. Next is, can we expand? The owners must agree to this. 30 owners have to agree to that.”

Rumors continue to circulate that the NBA will be there eventually add to two teams – one in Seattle and one in Las Vegas that may be owned by LeBron James. Seattle has the Climate Pledge Arena ready and waiting for an NBA team to join the NHL’s Seattle Kraken. The arena could prove groundbreaking along with the Supersonics storyline.

“Adam [Silver] was in the new arena and it’s the best facility in the country right now,” Payton said. “So I think that’s it, and I think he wants to get an NBA team in there and I think he will.”

The last time the Seattle Supersonics played a game in Seattle was on April 13, 2008. The SuperSonics beat Dallas 99-95 led by Earl Watson’s 21 followed by a rookie named Kevin Durant’s 19. It was their 19th win from a meager 20 at the start of a rebuild that would end three years later with Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals and the following year in the NBA Finals.

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sold the team to Clay Bennet of Oklahoma, believing that Bennet’s group would keep the Seattle team.

Gary Payton has deep roots in Seattle

Payton and company are still trying to pick up the pieces.

“This year I have a lot to do with Lenny Wilkens. We’re trying to make what we’re doing a weekend to raise and see if the NBA is going to bring us back,” Payton said. “We’re trying to show them what basketball will be like. It’s still live out there. You know, they’ve got the Seahawks, they’ve got the Mariners, you’ve got the Sounders, they’ve got Washington and they’ve got the Storm, who keep winning WNBA championships, we’ve got a lot of things going on out there. And we have to bring that back because they need basketball and a lot of players, old school players like the Durants and everyone that was drafted by them and said I want to play in Seattle before I get out of here.

Payton played his last game as Supersonic on February 19, 2003, scoring 31 points in a win over the Knicks. He was traded to Milwaukee in a five-player deal for Ray Allen. There would be stints in Los Angeles, Boston and Miami before Payton finally retired after the 2007 season and won a championship with the Heat in 2006 alongside Shaquille O’Neal and Dwyane Wade.

Payton’s heart never left Seattle and it still beats strong today.

“I’ve got restaurants out there, I’ve got a shirt company that’s out there and stuff like that, and we’re going to do a lot,” Payton explained. “I go there as often as I can because I want those people to keep seeing me, understand that if we go back there, to Seattle (an NBA team), and I’m moving back there when Seattle comes. We will be great again.”

In the meantime, Payton will be speaking as loudly as he does off the field to help make the Seattle NBA possible again.

Gary Payton has teamed up with Hennessy, the official spirit of the NBA, who supports nearly 350 Black, Asian and Latinx-owned small businesses across the country with $2.5 million in prizes worth $7,500 -dollars will be awarded. These companies are funded through Hennessy’s Unfinished Business program. Gary Payton is doing his best to bring the NBA back to Seattle

John Verrall

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