41 most memorable Sonics
Following are the 41 most memorable Sonics — the players and coaches we've cheered as well as the broadcasters who became icons and a longtime trainer and a lovable furry mascot we'll never forget.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Sonics are history after 41 years.
Following are the 41 most memorable Sonics — the players and coaches we've cheered as well as the broadcasters who became icons and a longtime trainer and a lovable furry mascot we'll never forget. It wasn't easy compiling this list, but it was a fun stroll down memory lane.
1. Lenny Wilkens
Guard, 1968-72; coach, 1969-72; 1977-85
Hall of Fame player made three straight All-Star appearances as a Sonics guard. Hall of Fame coach led Sonics to consecutive NBA Finals, including 1979 championship.
2. Fred Brown
"Downtown" is the purest shooter in team history. The captain of the championship team played each of his 13 NBA seasons for Sonics and ranks second in games and points.
3. Gary Payton
Nicknamed "The Glove" for his defense, but he's the Sonics' all-time leader in points, assists and three-pointers. Named to the All-NBA team in nine of 13 years with Sonics.
4. Jack Sikma
Center, 1977-86; assistant coach, 2003-07
Franchise's top center played nine seasons here and appeared in seven All-Star Games. Sonics' all-time leading rebounder and third in scoring.
5. Shawn Kemp
"The Reign Man" is best remembered for his high-flying, powerful dunks. He peaked when the Sonics went to the NBA Finals in 1996, averaging 23.3 points.
6. Gus Williams
"The Wizard" was the most exciting player in Sonics history, spent six years with them and was a key to the 1979 title team. Two-time All-Star with Sonics.
7. Nate McMillan
Guard, 1986-98; coach, 2000-05
Only Fred Brown and Gary Payton played more games in Seattle than "Mr. Sonic." Second in career assists and steals, 212-183 as a coach before leaving for Portland.
8. George Karl
The winningest coach in franchise history was 384-150 during the regular season, and guided the Sonics to four division titles, to the playoffs seven times, once to the Finals.
9. Spencer Haywood
Challenged NBA's underclassman rule and became first Sonics star. Four All-Star Games in 4 ½ seasons; season marks of 29.2 points, 13.4 rebounds are Sonics records.
10. Dennis Johnson
MVP of the 1979 Finals, averaging 22.6 points in win over Washington. Played four years in Seattle; two-time All-Star and all-defensive first-team selection.
11. Tom Chambers
A torrential scorer, he averaged 20.4 points during five seasons. As an injury replacement, was MVP at 1987 All-Star Game at Kingdome, scoring 34 points.
12. Bob Rule
One of the original Sonics, he averaged 21.4 points during 4 ½ seasons. Suffered a torn Achilles tendon early in 1970-71 season, was traded to Philadelphia early the next season.
13. Bill Russell
Former Celtics great took over as coach and general manager in 1973, and went 162-166 in four seasons, but guided the Sonics to their first playoff appearance in '74.
14. Dale Ellis
Guard, 1986-91, 1997-99
In seven seasons, "3D" scored 9,405 points, seventh on all-time list. His average of 27.5 points in 1988-89 is second-best (to Spencer Haywood) in Sonics history.
15. Xavier McDaniel
One of the great intimidators in franchise history, the "X-Man" provided brute strength and scoring. He's eighth in scoring and rebounding in team history.
16. Ray Allen
Arrived in trade for Gary Payton, and was an All-Star each of his four full seasons with Sonics.
17. Detlef Schrempf
Forward, 1993-99; assistant coach, 2006-07
Although he was the third scoring option for most of his six-year Sonics career, the versatile forward made two All-Star appearances.
18. Lonnie Shelton
The final piece of the championship team, the power forward came to the Sonics as compensation when they lost free agent Marvin Webster to New York.
19. Kevin Calabro
Longtime Sonics broadcaster has become a Seattle icon because of his unmistakable voice, amusing narratives and clever phrases such as "flying chickens in the barnyard."
20. Paul Silas
Averaged fewer than six points in three seasons with the Sonics, but he was the glue of the championship team, a menacing enforcer who mentored Jack Sikma and Lonnie Shelton.
21. Rashard Lewis
The one-time All-Star is in the team's all-time top 10 in three-pointers, points, rebounds, steals and blocks.
22. Ricky Pierce
Pure shooter did his best work inside the three-point line. He's the best free-throw shooter in team history (90.6 percent) and his average of 18.5 points ranks ninth best.
23. Michael Cage
Rugged, square-shouldered big man led the Sonics in rebounding for three of his six seasons with the team. He's fourth on the team's career rebounding list.
24. Sam Perkins
Affectionately dubbed "Big Smooth," Perkins played six seasons with the Sonics, with the team making the playoffs each of those seasons.
25. Slick Watts
The unofficial "Sonics Ambassador" is just as popular in retirement as he was when he played five seasons for the Sonics and popularized headbands.
26. Derrick McKey
Taken ninth overall in the 1987 draft and selected to the all-rookie first team, McKey never maximized his potential during six seasons in Seattle.
27. Bernie Bickerstaff
Led Sonics to playoffs in three of his five seasons. Despite a 39-43 record, Sonics advanced to the Western Conference finals in 1987.
28. John Johnson
Before Scottie Pippen and Tracy McGrady, "J.J." was one of the NBA's first "point forwards." A capable scorer, he led the Sonics in assists for two of his five seasons.
29. Bob Blackburn
Original "Voice of the Sonics" left in what he called a "forced retirement." Beloved broadcaster is famous for rapid-fire delivery and homespun tales.
30. Bob Weiss
Guard, 1967-68, assistant coach, 1994-2005; coach, 2005-06
One of the original Sonics, he played 82 games in the expansion season and coached 30 games of the '05-06 season. He also spent 11 years as a Sonics assistant coach.
31. Kevin Durant
Played just one season in Seattle and became the first Sonic to win the Rookie-of-the-Year award. The 19-year-old shooting guard couldn't prevent the Sonics from stumbling to a franchise worst 20-62 record, though.
32. Tom Meschery
One of the original Sonics. Ranks ninth in team history with 2,813 rebounds. Born Tomislav Nikolayevich Mescheryakov, Meschery was the first Russian in the NBA.
33. Paul Westphal
Guard, 1980-81; coach, 1998-2000
All-Star starter for the Sonics in 1981 had a disappointing run as head coach, compiling a 78-74 record after succeeding George Karl.
34. Vin Baker
Second-team All-NBA his first year in Seattle, but his weight ballooned during the lockout-shortened 1999 season and struggles with alcoholism derailed his promising career.
35. Walt Hazzard
Guard, 1967-68, 1973-74
Seattle's first All-Star during the team's inaugural season in 1967. Averaged 23.9 points that year, which was seventh in the league in scoring. Later changed his name to Mahdi Abdul-Rahman.
36. Hersey Hawkins
The sharpshooting, ballhawking guard was the missing piece to a near-championship puzzle. Arrived in 1995 and helped the Sonics to a Finals appearance.
37. Frank and Sarah Furtado
Frank, trainer, 1974-2000; Sarah, executive assistant, 1970-96
The Sonics renamed their training facility the Furtado Center in 2001, in honor of the husband/wife team. Each worked 26 years for the team. Frank was twice named NBA trainer of the year.
38. Jim McIlvaine
Controversial free agent who was given a $33.6 million contract after two unproductive seasons in Washington. His arrival upset Shawn Kemp, who wanted a contract extension, and led to the All-Star forward's trade.
39. Steve Scheffler
The gregarious towel-waving, high-fiving deep reserve was a fan favorite who saw action when the game was out of hand.
40. Desmond Mason
A dynamic guard with amazing leaping ability. He's the only Sonic to ever win a slam dunk title, claiming the trophy in 2001.
The high-flying, slam-dunking daredevil of a mascot made his debut in 1993, replacing "Wheedle."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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