Best Thing to Happen to Seattle This Year

Chris Hansen

When the Sonics were stolen from us four years ago, it tore a hole in our community and broke the hearts of three generations who had built a 41-year bond with the only men's professional franchise to win a world championship for this city. Among those devastated by the loss of our civic institution, an unassuming 44-year-old lifelong Sonics fan, a Roosevelt High graduate-turned-San Francisco hedge-fund manager, was actually in a position to do something about it. Chris Hansen materialized in February as the ultimate white knight, with a comprehensive plan to buy up land south of Safeco Field, build an NBA-caliber arena, and attract a team when one became available, ideally with an NHL franchise as co-tenant. Hansen grounded his lofty goals with a commitment of at least $300 million from his own deep pockets, and in June announced a partnership with the ultimate big-bucks baller, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and two Nordstroms, with more big names to come—potentially the richest ownership group in the NBA and one of the wealthiest in professional sports. The Oklahoma City Thunder are a monument to Howard Schultz's greed, David Stern's indifference, Clay Bennett's duplicity, and local politicians' complicity. Seattle SuperSonics 2.0 (eventually) will be a testament to Chris Hansen's generosity, loyalty, and commitment—and to the passion of a wounded fan base that never stopped believing. MICHAEL MAHONEY sonicsarena.com

 
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