Monday, October 13, 2008

Gary Payton Raises the Flag

Before the Seattle Seahawks football game yesterday Gary Payton was given the honor of raising a cerimonial "12th man" flag by the Paul Allen owned NFL team.

Paul Allen was one of two NBA owners to vote no one the Sonics franchise relocation to Oklahoma City. He also has ownership of the Portland Trail Blazers. He also has the Experience Music Project rock-roll / sci-fi museum situated next to the Seattle Center. He also has a major land development nearby in the South Lake Union neighborhood. He also has something to do with the company Steve Ballmer is CEO of, Microsoft.

Steve Ballmer is is the major money player in the Seattle Center Investment group that, not obvious in its name, is offering to be the private portion of a public/private partnership to rebuild Key Arena and buy an NBA franchise to occupy it. They tilt toward reviving Seattle Center (so do I).

Back to the future, yesterday, and Gary Payton.

Payton was quoted as saying (see 2 prior posts) that he thinks the NBA will return to Seattle by 2011. He is contacting other former players to put a group together to approach the local financial interests to get a Key Arena solution done. He identified one name, James
Donaldson. Donaldson is interested in running for Seattle City Council next year. He was the first NBA player I had bumped into in public, the summer he was drafted, before his rookie season, my brother and I ran into Mr Donaldson at . . . the Seattle Center between the Center House and the ferris wheel. He was there with his sister, from WSU, I was 15, he was really stood out above everybody else.

No, really, back to Gary Payton.

Some people make news, some people are news, Gary Payton is both. What this whole situation needs is a champion for the cause, an NBA Hall of Famer, and a direct connection to Seattle and the fans. I like Lenny Wilkins, but I love the Glove, it is generational. Payton is one
of the few in this world that could revive NBA interest in Seattle by 2011. He is still a superstar in Seattle. His interest is in the return of basketball to Key Arena. This should fit in with Ballmer's group. Maybe they can play on the same ownership team since they are looking at the same could. Maybe Gary can play public point man for this home as part of the ownership team.

Payton was critical of the former ownership group, lead by Howard Schultz, before Schultz sold and sued Clay Bennett. Are his critical remarks now a plus for him in the eyes of David Stern?
I doubt it matters now.

In the end the odds of Durant being a Seattle Sonic again just went wayyyyy up.
This is goodness.

Have a great day,
Mr Baker

Sent from my iPhone

5 comments:

dead ball foul said...

He is contacting other former players to put a group together to approach the local financial interests to get a Key Arena solution done.

Please explain how you came to this conclusion. I did not see anything in the article about where Gary's team would play. It would obviously be somewhere in the Seattle area, however there wasn't one word about a remodel.

Mr Baker said...

I was using a figure of speech, by "play point" I was revering to being the local visible leader off the floor for a new ownership group. I'll edit the story for clarity, you are right, that would be nuts.

Mr Baker said...

Well that's funny, I though you were referring to my use of the word "point", when it was really about the word renovate.
It is in the prior ost from the AP story.
I got back to a computer to edit both.
Maybe that was assumed by the AP writer, maybe it wasn't.
GP and a few others might be able to push this to be bigger, and get a new arena, but not if he is thinking about getting a team back here by 2011.
We shall see.
I do not think there is any question that he is one of the few people that could revive the NBA in Seattle.

dead ball foul said...

Thanks for pointing out the AP article, I hadn't read that one. I see the TNT also did an article. They too are mystified as to who Gary is aligning with and also did not mention the Key Arena plan. It does make me wonder if the AP writer made the assumption since it wasn't in either of the more detailed local articles (which also happened to be published and/or updated later). Wouldn't be the first time AP did something like that.

GP and a few others might be able to push this to be bigger, and get a new arena, but not if he is thinking about getting a team back here by 2011.

Good point. Hard to say what the plan is here. It's all very vague. Could be the idea is to get a team here first and have them play in the Key while a new arena is being built.

Mr Baker said...

if it is Key Arena then I think it is renovate, that takes 18 months according to Mr Nellams.
The Center master plan has other ideas for memorial stadium. But the site has political support from the mayor. To crush and rebuild on the same footprint by 2011 is almost impossible.

It is early.

I have said 2011 for the past 3 months, GP knows more people than anybody I know.