'Bring back our Sonics' rally in Seattle

Associated Press Published: June 14, 2012
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SEATTLE (AP) — As the franchise that used to be the SuperSonics plays Game 2 in the NBA Finals, some basketball fans in Seattle are aching to get back in the game.

A group hoping to build an NBA arena is holding a Bring Back Our Sonics rally Thursday afternoon in the city's Pioneer Square area, not far from the proposed arena location near the homes of the Mariners and Seahawks.

Organizers expected thousands of fans to show up to see former Sonics stars, including Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and Detlef Schrempf, who played in the NBA Finals in 1996 against Chicago.

Chris Hansen, who is leading an investment group that wants to build the arena and acquire an NBA team, is asking supporters to pressure the Seattle City Council and the King County Council to approve his plan for the arena.

Hansen doesn't own a franchise, but his plan gained credibility Wednesday with the announcement that his group includes billionaire Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who made a last-ditch effort four years ago to keep the Sonics in Seattle. The group also includes Erik and Peter Nordstrom, members of the family that owned the Seahawks from 1976 to 1988.

Meanwhile, Seattle basketball fans can only watch the Thunder face the Miami Heat and wonder what might have been. Three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant began his career in Seattle before owner Clay Bennett moved the franchise to Oklahoma City in 2008, after arena plans in Seattle failed to gather political support.

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