On June 25, the famous former Sonic and Xavier University standout will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, (via thetowntalk.com).
And while I enjoyed reading about Watts' honor, I chuckled a bit when I came across this paragraph:
After 4½ seasons, Watts had an opportunity to return to the city where he made a name for himself as a college player. He finished the 1977-78 season as a member of the Jazz.Well, if by "Watts had an opportunity" you mean "Watts got forced out by Lenny Wilkens and was bitter as hell about it," then, yeah, he "had an opportunity."
Here's how Watts described the events surrounding his trade to New Orleans in his book Slick Watts's Tales from the Seattle Supersonics:
I was so upset that I left the game against Kansas City that night at halftime. I caught a flight the next day. It was painful flying over the city, looking down. Tears came over my eyes, and I said, "I'm gone."Obviously, things weren't quite so seamless as it might seem from reading the story in today's paper. The Slick Watts/Lenny Wilkens/Bill Russell/Bob Hopkins quadrangle is a bizarre and poorly understood aspect of Sonic history. Watts went from being the most famous athlete in Seattle (seriously; the guy opened the Kingdome, for crying out loud) to being persona non grata in the span of a few months, a fall from grace that was completely unpredictable and utterly shocking in hindsight.
Watts deserves credit for not harboring grudges against Wilkens and the Sonics, and for continuing to throw his support behind Sonic fans despite the way he was treated in the 1970s, but to pretend that he left for New Orleans out of his own volition is far, far from the truth.
Edit: While we're on the subject of Slick, please enjoy this dope video from the Sonicsgate crew, featuring the man himself and other local legends. SHEER DOPENESS. --chunk