Timeline of the NBA in Seattle
The NBA came to Seattle in 1966 and left in 2008. A proposal to lure the NBA back to town with a new arena in Sodo was proposed by Christopher Hansen, a wealthy San Francisco man, in the summer of 2011.
Dec. 20, 1966: The NBA awards Seattle its first pro sports team. Team owners Sam Schulman and Eugene Klein borrow money to pay the $1.75 million expansion fee.
Oct. 13, 1967: Seattle SuperSonics play their first game, losing 144-116 at San Francisco.
Oct. 20, 1967: Sonics play their first home game, an event witnessed by 4,473 fans who could be bothered to show up at the Seattle Center Coliseum. The Sonics lose again, something they did a lot that first season, finishing with a 23-59 record.
1971-72 season: Sonics fall short of the playoffs, but have a winning record for the first time (47-35), led by Spencer Haywood, Seattle's first pro-sports superstar.
May 11, 1973: Schulman makes Bill Russell the highest-paid executive in the NBA, hiring the former Celtics star as the Sonics' coach and general manager.
Jan. 15, 1974: Sonics host the All-Star Game at the Coliseum.
1974-75 season: Sonics make the playoffs for the first time.
Nov. 30, 1977: Sonics, 5-17, fire new coach Bob Hopkins and replace him with Lenny Wilkens. Winning ensues. Sonics reached the NBA Finals that season, losing to the Washington Bullets in seven games.
Oct. 13, 1978: Sonics move from the Coliseum and begin the first of seven seasons at the Kingdome.
June 1, 1979: Sonics win the NBA title, taking Game 5 from the Bullets in Landover, Md., as fans celebrate in the streets of Seattle.
Oct. 15, 1983: Barry Ackerley buys Sonics for $13 million, and assumes $8 million in liabilities.
Jan. 5, 1986: The Sonics return to the Coliseum for the 1985-86 season, and host the first game rained out in NBA history, thanks to a leaky roof.
Feb. 8, 1987: Sonics host the All-Star Game at the Kingdome.
June 27, 1989: Sonics draft 19-year-old Shawn Kemp, who never played college basketball.
June 17, 1990: Sonics draft Gary Payton. He and Kemp form the core of the team that eventually played in the 1996 NBA Finals.
1993-94 season: Sonics finish with league's best record — 63-19 — but lose in first round of playoffs.
February 1994: Sonics demand the Coliseum be renovated. In exchange for the city issuing 20-year bonds to pay for the $100 million renovation, the Sonics agree to a 15-year lease.
June 16, 1994: Construction begins to renovate the Coliseum. Sonics play in the Tacoma Dome during the 1994-95 season.
Nov. 4, 1995: Sonics play their first game at KeyArena. NBA Commissioner David Stern attends, and says KeyArena "is very special to me," and that everyone in Seattle should be proud of the "beautiful building."
June 16, 1996: Sonics, 64-18 during the regular season, are defeated by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
Jan. 11, 2001: Ackerley sells the Sonics and the WNBA's Storm to a group led by Starbucks boss Howard Schultz for $200 million.
July 18, 2006: Clay Bennett and a group of Oklahoma businessmen buy the Sonics and Storm for $350 million, pledging a "good-faith" effort to keep the team in Seattle.
November 2006: Seattle voters overwhelmingly approve an initiative hostile to the Sonics that says the city must make a profit on any investment it makes in a sports arena.
April 2007: The state Legislature rejects the Sonics' proposal to build a $500 million arena in Renton, paid for mostly with an extension of taxes currently paying off Safeco and Qwest fields. In response, Bennett threatens to relocate the Sonics and the Storm.
August 2007: Sonics part-owner Aubrey McClendon confirms the suspicions of many Sonics fans when he tells an Oklahoma newspaper, "We didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle; we hoped to come here." The NBA later fined McClendon $250,000 for the remark.
Sept. 10, 2007: The Seattle City Council votes 8-0 to strictly enforce the Sonics' KeyArena lease contract, rejecting any early buyout.
Sept. 13, 2007: Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels enlists former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton to help enforce the KeyArena lease. Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis says the city is "lawyering up" and is ready to spend $1 million on legal fees.
Sept. 21, 2007: Sonics owners file for arbitration on KeyArena, seeking approval to pay a cash settlement instead of playing out the final two years on the team's lease.
Sept. 24, 2007: Seattle files a lawsuit seeking to hold the Sonics to their KeyArena lease through 2010.
Nov. 2, 2007: Bennett announces he is seeking NBA permission to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City. He says the Storm can stay in Seattle.
Jan. 8, 2008: Bennett sells the Storm to four Seattle-area women.
2007-08 season: Sonics finish 20-62, the worst record in team history.
April 18, 2008: NBA approves the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City.
June 16-26, 2008: U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman listens to testimony during a six-day bench trial to settle the issue of the Sonics' lease. The entertaining highlights include accusations of bad deeds on both sides.
July 2, 2008: The Sonics reach an agreement with the city, buying out the last two years of the lease at KeyArena for $45 million. The team will play in Oklahoma City next season. It is renamed the Thunder.
April 2011: Stern announces the NBA's relocation committee has a new chairman: Clay Bennett.
June 2011: Christopher Hansen, a Seattle native-turned San Francisco hedge-fund manager, tells the city in an email that he thinks the NBA can be attracted back to Seattle with minimal public investment in an arena.
July 2011: Unbeknownst to the Seattle City Council, Mayor Mike McGinn signs a $19,500-per-month contract with sports-facilities consultant Carl Hirsh to advise the city on the development of a new sports facility that could draw an NBA team back to town.
Dec. 9, 2011: McGinn's office confirms it is examining an "opportunity," but won't give specific information.
Dec. 23, 2011: Hansen is revealed as the lead investor seeking to build a sports arena south of Safeco Field to lure the NBA back to Seattle.
Feb. 6, 2012: NBA commissioner Stern says he is open to the league returning to Seattle, revealing he met about "a year ago" with Hansen.
Feb. 11: Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, a former NBA point guard, vows to keep the Kings from leaving his city. But Sacramento is approaching a series of key deadlines for constructing a $400 million arena.
Feb. 14: Sacramento City Council approves deeper talks with 11 firms that are key to getting an arena-financing plan and avoid losing the Kings, possibly to Seattle.
Feb. 15: Hansen tells The Seattle Times: "We're very close to announcing our offer to the city. That's why I'm here."
March 1, 2012: Deadline for Kings to submit financing proposal to the NBA..