Thursday, June 23

H-O-R-S-E: Fred Brown v Brian Winters

With the draft on tap for tonight, I'm sure you're as fascinated as I am by ...

Wait, what? A Fred Brown v Brian Winters HORSE matchup, with Don Criqui on the mike, classic late 70s graphics, and a classic CBS soundtrack in pure, unadulterated low-fi? Oh, yes, please.

You'll have to stick around for a few minutes to see the champion, but we all know the real winner is Mr. Winters' moustache.

Monday, June 20

SI's Writers Are Morons

That's the only explanation I can come up with. If you missed it, SI just put up a "Ultimate Fantasy Draft" wherein their staff conducts a ... well, I guess it's obvious what they conduct.

Anyhow, Gary Payton went 50th overall, which seems nice on the surface, but then you see who got picked ahead of him:

-Steve Nash
-Sidney Moncrief
-Dennis Rodman
-Bill Walton
-Joe Dumars
-Reggie Miller

Payton finished his career with 145.5 win shares and was All-NBA (1st, 2nd or 3rd) nine times. I know, WS are not the be-all, but they are a measuring stick. Here's how those six gentlemen ranked:

-Nash: 119.5, 7 times
-Moncrief: 90.3, 5 times
- Rodman: 89.8, twice
- Walton: 39.3, twice
- Dumars: 86.2, twice
- Miller: 174.4, 3 times

I'll give you Walton, just because writers have a hard-on for him and he was good that one time in Portland. I'll give you Nash, because his career isn't over ... and, no, screw that. I won't give you Nash, or Rodman, or Miller, or Sidney Freaking Moncrief or are you flipping kidding me, Joe Dumars? Do you seriously expect me to lie down and take the fact that you think Joe Dumars is better than Gary Payton?

In what aspect? Defense? Really, Joe Dumars was a better defender than Gary Payton? Joe Dumars had 900 steals in his career, Payton had MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND.

Fine, let's say they're even. Is Dumars even in the same universe as Payton as an offensive player? Payton routinely grabbed twice as many rebounds, dished out twice as many assists, and scored much more often. And not just one season. EVERY SEASON.

Fine, Dumars was a better three-point shooter. So was Dana Barros. I DON'T CARE.

I know this stuff is meaningless, and it's not worth getting upset about. But Gary Payton doesn't have a fanbase anymore. He doesn't have a hometown team, because his team doesn't exist. Gary Payton's got us. If we don't stick up for him, GP becomes some loud-mouthed guy that used to play for that team that doesn't exist.

Well, that's crap. Gary Payton is one of the best point guards in basketball history, a doberman on defense and a offensive genius on the other end. He could score, rebound, pass, and defend as well if not better than just about anyone not named Magic in NBA history. And the people at SI ought to know it.

Friday, June 17

Slick Watts Earns La. Hall Honor

It's not the Basketball Hall of Fame, but Slick Watts will take it.

On June 25, the famous former Sonic and Xavier University standout will be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame, (via

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

Thursday, June 16

Name That Sonic

On a Degree of Difficulty scale, I'd put this one at about a 4. First Clue: Not a player (Playah? Yes. Player? No.)

Monday, June 13


 Tim Grgurich is an NBA champion, and while I'd love to offer this basketball lifer the heartiest of congratulations upon reaching the apex of basketball achievement, it's possible ... no, not just possible, completely likely that he could care not one whit.

To know what Gurgs thinks of the league, listen only to what he told author Curt Sampson Full Court Pressure, the seminal book on mid-90s Sonic basketball:

"The NBA is bullshit."

If you followed the Sonics in the 90s, you knew Bob Kloppenburg handled the team's intense defense, George Karl handled the media and the overall tone, and Grgurich handled the offense and the intensity. To give you just a taste of that intensity, here's another quote lifted from Sampson's book:

As always, Gurg's voice was hoarse. ... He ran through every part of every drill, working as hard as any player, the sweat dripping off his nose and chin. He'd been here since six-thirty: he watched a mile or two of videotape, ate a bran muffin, worked out Ricky [Pierce], worked out himself, then practice, more tape, weight lifting, another workout. He might get home by 7 p.m.

There were a number of reasons why I pulled for Dallas in the Finals: Because they weren't the Big 3, because of Jason Kidd, because the way my 2-year-old daughter would imitate Jason Terry's airplane move and how she fell in love with JJ Barea, because of Dirk's greatness ... all of that.

But more than anything else, it was because of Gurg. To see James, Wade, and Bosh be rewarded for, as Joe Posnanski put it today, "cutting in line," would be sad and pathetic. To see Tim Grgurich be rewarded would be the complete oppposite: A reward for hard work, intensity, commitment, and, above all, sacrifice.

Congratulations, Gurg.

Sunday, June 12

Congrats to the World Champion Dallas Mavericks (shudder . . .)

For the first (and hopefully last) time, I found myself rooting for a team from Texas tonight, as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Miami Heat 105-95 to win their first championship.

Maybe it was because they beat The Team That Must Not Be Named in the conference finals. Maybe it was the three former Sonics coaches sitting on the bench. Maybe it was local kid made good Jason Terry and his crazy-ass airplane antics. Maybe it was because they were playing the most hated team in basketball.

Regardless of the reason, congrats to the Mavs for all of the above. And let us never speak of it again.

Friday, June 10

1996: The Last Great Season

As this year's NBA Finals wind down, Percy Allen takes a bittersweet look back at the last Finals I actually cared about, the epic 1996 Sonics/Bulls battle. Nate McMillan gives a heartbreaking "should-woulda-coulda" breakdown of the series:
Unable to play because of back spasms, McMillan took a cortisone shot before Games 4 and 5 to relieve the pain. The Sonics won both games and forced the series to return to Chicago.

It was the last time McMillan would play, as Seattle fell 87-75 in Game 6.

"You go your whole career playing basketball and now you have this opportunity to be on the biggest stage in your life — it doesn't get any better than this — and you can't play," McMillan said. "Why? I just kept asking God why. I know that if I could play — had a little confidence at that time in my career — I could have an impact.
Sigh . . .

Read the whole story at The Seattle Times.

Wednesday, June 1

Seattle Sonics Do It

I'm ashamed to admit that I've never heard this song before. Luther Rabb was a (relatively) well known Seattle musician in the 1970s, and apparently this song was THE song to celebrate the Sonics' championship season (which ended, coincidentally, with a victory over Washington 32 years ago today).

Anybody have access to the song that they could share with us? If not, I'll track it down on LP and find a way to upload it to the site. Seems like an important part of Sonic history, no?