Thursday, September 15


After reading a good article on Bulls Blog regarding the topic, then referencing Harlan Schrieber’s epic piece about the same, it got me to thinking: Who should be the next Sonic to get his jersey retired?

Schrieber, while mistaken in categorizing Gus Williams as a “Longtime/Mainstay,” rather than a “Very Good” as he was, makes some good points in the article. Still, his list of should-be retired jerseys surprised me (he included Kemp, Detlef, and Spencer Haywood).

Here is one man’s list of players who ought to see their jerseys hanging from the Key Arena rafters (in order of merit):

1. Gary Payton
2. Shawn Kemp
3. Xavier McDaniel
4. Spencer Haywood
5. Dale Ellis
6. Tom Chambers
7. Detlef Schrempf

In all honesty, only the top 4 should really receive consideration, and if you’re holding a gun to my head, I could live with Payton and Kemp.



SloWhiteGuy said...

I agree with Payton and Kemp on top although I would also move Chambers and Det to right below them. The rest I would have to say no to until they are old and gray.

booth52 said...

Interesting thought. i guess ultimately the decision would boil down to your opinion on the integrity/how hallowed you feel the membership should be of retired jerseys hanging from the Key roof.

For instance, i don't think too many would raise an uproar over having Det thrown up there RIGHT NOW, but imagine the consequences of such a selection in, oh, 20 years. There'd probably need to be 2 rings worth of retired jerseys, with 12 year retired savvy Sonic rebounding veteran Reggie Evans among them.

Payton and Kemp fer sure. Maybe they could do a secondary type honor for undeserving yet extremely popular sonics guys... and a thirdary honor of laminating the faces of baker, c. booth, jimmy mac, etc. on the mens urinals. For the honor of hitting that up, i'd shell out the $10 for a beer to load up on ammo.

Anonymous said...

they should do a 'ring of honor' thing like the seahawks do, without retiring a crapload of jersey numbers

Anonymous said...

The only former Seattle Supersonics who still deserve to have their uniform retired are Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp.

Anyhow, that notwithstanding, did Nate McMillan really earn the honor of having his jersey hung up on the rafters?

chunkstyle23 said...

I remember reading that both Spencer Haywood and Gus Williams still hold grudges against the Sonics organization, otherwise they would have had their numbers retired already.

Anonymous said...

I'm just going to get this out of the way right now ...

ak1984, and whosoever else feels the urge to voice this opinion, Nate McMillan is, without any doubt whatsoever, the most revered Sonic player in franchise history. Not retiring his jersey would be a slap in the face of the man who gave 20 years of his life to this organization. Yes, his statistics pale in comparison to Williams, Payton, Wilkens, et al, but his hard-working, selfless personality is second to none. In fact, if you forced me to only pick one jersey to retire, it would be Nate McMillan - and I don't think I would be alone in that choice.

There, I feel better.

Anonymous said...

finally something to talk about, i have been dying for something like this to come up on the soul. my opinion is that GP and the manchild are shoe-ins. as should Gus because he was such a huge part or our championship. i'd also like to see Haywood (scorer/rebounder) and Ellis (one of the 2 or 3 best 3-point shooters of all time) for their big stats and their noterioty. Det--sorry all, doesn't belong. chambers and X-man are on the fence for me. i know that is 5 new jerseys to retire, but tell me why those guys are not deserving? or why X-man Det and Chambers are more deserving?
i love these kind of debates. while we are at it who are the 5 best sonics of all time? i only moved here in '92 so i am bias but here goes a starter list-- please respond with comments and your own lists.
1. GP
2. Kemp
3. Ellis
4. DJ or Gus Williams
5. Sikma

you guys do a great job here at the soul, keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the compliment. I've been pondering starting a All-Time Best at each position, but was afraid I wouldn't see it through. I'll try to kick it off next week with the Best Sonic Center of All-Time. Can anyone give me a reason why it SHOULDN'T be Jack Sikma?

Anonymous said...

Nuss: did Sikma ever destroy SAC in the playoffs? It's gotta be JJ.



PS: Thank you Isaiah

Tim said...

Nate, hands down. And I would love to see GP and Kemp as well. The others I am on the fence about. I like the idea Booth put out there. I would take it further to a "Players Fans Loved That Had Cool Nicknames", like Slick, Chef, Brick, Moochie, Pookie, X-man, Reignman, The Glove, Det, Big Smooth, Smoochie, etc. Maybe have it in some sort of gang graffitti bubble letters on the ceiling of the Key? Kind of like a whos been here and tagged this place kinda honerable mention? But I say no nickname, no honor. How can you be a fan favorite if you don't have a nickname? If everyone is looking for things to kill time until the season starts, how about a list of the best nicknames that have been bestowed by Sonics fans (or Calabro), and not by the player or their mama? Using The Glove and the Reignman to start it off. Have fun

b_con said...

I always liked "the sky pilot" because Calaboro loved calling Patterson that soooo much. Any oppurtunity Ruben gave him it was Sky Pilot! It cant compare with the self-bestowed title of "Kobe Killer" though.

Anonymous said...

Well, okay, now that the Nate McMillan precedent has been firmly established in the Pacific Northwest, I will thereby be the first guy to advocate the enshrinement of NFL fullback Mack Strong, upon his retirement from professional football, into the Seattle Seahawks' Ring Of Honor.

In all seriousness, however, I've got nothing against McMillan. Yet, in any case, I believe that a professional athlete ought to only be bestowed a prestigious honor if he performed at a level of excellence during his tenure with franchise that employed him. As it is, though, McMillan does not meet the above criteria; hence, his #10 jersey should not be hanging from the rafters at Key Arena.

Tim said...

AK1984, your statement that a player should have "performed at a level of excellence during his tenure with franchise that employed him" makes the case for Nate. Excellence is not only on the court but off it as well. Nate was the quintessential representative of sport for Seattle. A good athlete who always played hard, played hurt, and never once said anything to disparage his or the organizations reputation. He is to the Sonics what Edgar is to the Mariners, the embodiment of what an organization would want the rest of the world to see as its ambassador.
I think you miss the point of why teams retire numbers. It has nothing to do with stats, it has to do with the players ability to make their team better while being a valued member of their community. That is the reason the Kemp has not has his number retired but Nate has. The intangibles that a player brings to his organization is what ender him to the fans and the front office. Stop looking at numbers and start looking at the person. If you want to see players that had great individual accomplishments, go to Springfield. If you want to see players that represented Seattle and made the fans proud to call them their own, than got to Key Arena.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Just for the record, I think Rueben refered to himself as "The Kobe Stopper."

Anonymous said...

I just realized something this morning: The Sonics can't retire the X-Man's jersey ... because Ray Allen's wearing it! Call me crazy, but this was another good reason for the Sonics to decide not to re-sign Sugar Ray; he's going to screw X out of getting his jersey hung from the rafters.

Anonymous said...

Thank you dannyF...

Let's not jump off the Nate wagon so fast folks...

I would compare Nate McMillans play to that of soon-to-be-retired Mariner Dan Wilson. Does Dapper Dan deserve to have his number retired? Well according to the Mariners, no. In the Mariners own charter, it states that jersey retirements can only be for a player that is in the hall-of-fame (or of that caliber).

Now Dan was one of the best in MLB at blocking pitches in the dirt, and he was also one of the best at calling a game. But, alas, those are two elements of the game they haven't invented numbers for, so you can't really quantify how much better he made the team. However, no one can argue that the M's woudn't had such a long streak of success witout him (or someone of his caliber)behind the plate.

So goes it with Nate. His contributions were not of the "impressive numbers" kind. Some teams elect to honor that kind of contribution, some don't. I'm glad the Sonics did. Hell, when asked about it, Magic Johnson said that Nate was the toughest one-on-one defender he ever faced. That is good enough for me.

Hey Nuss, does Michael Cage count as a center? Plus, ya gotta put him on the nickname team ("The Activator")


Anonymous said...

Funny, I always thought Cage's nickname was "Soul Glow." Or was that just what the 3 of us called him?

Rob Salkowitz said...

Payton and Kemp for sure. The others - yeah, maybe. I'd put Sam Perkins ahead of Detlef, though.

b_con said...

I could've sworn it was "Kobe Killer". Plus, that name is just so much more Ruben Patterson than "Kobe Stopper".

Anonymous said...

I attended games at the Coliseum as a kid starting in 1970 (Haywood was my sports idol growing up, sorry Sixkiller & Tommy Harper).
The All-Time Sonics' are in order:
1) Payton, 9 All-Star Games
2) Sikma, 7
3) Haywood, 4
4) Kemp, 4
5) Wilkens, 3

Easy as that . . .

I loved The Wizard & Downtown Freddy; but those first 5 guys spent plenty of time in Seattle while performing at the highest level.

I could care less if any of their numbers were retired. That should be reserved only for Hall of Famers (in this case Payton, with my regrets to Sikma & Wilkens)

Anonymous said...

IMHO, the list of retired Sonics should be as follows:

Lenny #19
Brown #32
Haywood #24
Sikma #43
Williams #1
MacMillan #10
Schrempf #11
Ellis #3