Tuesday, February 27, 2007

1, 10, 19, 24, 32, 43

These are the uniform numbers retired by the Sonics, honoring former stars Gus Williams, Nate McMillan, Lenny Wilkens, Spencer Haywood, Fred Brown and Jack Sikma, respectively. (Note that none of 'em were retired to pander to the fans, like the Seahawks's stupid 12th Man.)

The latest addition to the Key Arena rafters is #24, retired just last night. Though the number was worn by both Dennis Johnson, MVP of the '79 NBA Finals when Sonics won their only championship (and who, coincidentally, died last week), and Tom Chambers, MVP of the '87 NBA All-Star Game that I attended at the Kingdome, #24 was retired for Spencer Haywood. His 29.2 points per game during the 1972-73 season and 24.9 points per game in his five years as a Sonic (1970-75) both remain franchise records.

For me, my knowledge of pro sports pretty much began when the expansion Seahawks began play in '76, and the expansion Mariners began play in '77, both during my seventh year. The Sonics started up a decade earlier, in '67, but I was oblivious to them 'til after I started paying attention to the 'Hawks and M's. By then, Haywood had already been traded away to the Knicks. Yet I like that Seattle has this small amount of major-league history that went down before my sports awareness came into being, something cool that happened before my time but that I can learn about after the fact.

Read more about Spencer Haywood here.
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