Thirty years ago today, Seattle got one of its two only professional sports championships, beating the Washington Bullets--yes, they were the Bullets then, unbeknownst to the boys in the Clash, who were writing a song--97-93. (The other Seattle championship belongs to the Storm). Coached by Lenny Wilkens, the team had the NBA's best defense that year, and featured the fearsome backcourt of Gus Williams and the late Dennis Johnson. In the deciding game, Williams scored eight points in the final 3:25 and Johnson--who was named Finals MVP--seven in the last 6:45.
Wilkens (left) and Williams
The Bullets were expected to win the series and had home-court advantage, but the Sonics proved to be the tougher, more cohesive team. As Sports Illustrated described them:
The MVP of the playoffs [Johnson] described himself as a "funny-looking black kid with red hair and freckles." The leading scorer [Williams] was a 25-year-old with fast feet and a fast-receding hairline. The spiritual leader [Paul Silas] was an "old man" who has never learned how to shoot in 15 years in the league. Together they made the Seattle SuperSonics NBA champions....
Dennis Johnson (left) and John Johnson celebrate the championship
After the victory, "Freddie Brown stood dripping with sweat, champagne and tears and said, "This is heaven."
Meanwhile, Sonics forward John Johnson (no relation to Dennis) had a response to Washington's Elvin Hayes, who said he likes being a part of history (The Bullets were looking to become only the second team to win back-to-back titles): "How does Elvin like that history?"
Well, it's all history now, as Seattle's green and gold has left to become Oklahoma's blue and orange. But we still have our championship. Take it away, Bob Blackburn: