Here’s the transcript of the official interview with Chris Hansen following Seattle’s presentation to the NBA today in New York:
CHRIS HANSEN: Thanks, you guys. As you can imagine, there’s not a lot that I can say about the details of our presentation. I think we were very well prepared. We’re optimistic. The ownership group is very enthusiastic, and we appreciate the NBA has got a tough decision to make, and we’re hopeful for an outcome in our favor. Thank you.
Q. I think what left a bad taste in people’s mouth, the process by which the Sonics left Seattle. Are there some differences in your approach whereby this move can be done in a good way? Is that part of what you want to do?
CHRIS HANSEN: I just think you don’t get anywhere in life looking backwards and dwelling on things that have gone wrong, and maybe the counter to that is that sometimes you have to lose something that you really hold precious and dear to really realize how much it means to you. I think that’s the way I feel, and I think that’s the way a lot of people in our community feel.
Q. What did you try to sell the NBA owners today, and what kind of questions did they ask you about the proposal?
CHRIS HANSEN: I really don’t want to get into the questions that they asked us. I think first and foremost we have a great city. Seattle is doing very well economically. We’ve got the right kind of industries growing, huge knowledge worker growth, great kind of corporate support, and a lot of enthusiastic basketball fans. You guys all saw we announced our priority ticket wait list numbers, nearly 48,000 people signed up for full season ticket and suites, and I think that’s a pretty strong testament.
Q. Did the word expansion ever come up?
CHRIS HANSEN: I’m not going to answer any questions about what was discussed in the room, that level of detail.
Q. When you say you feel confident, is your confidence level any different now than it was prior to the meeting?
CHRIS HANSEN: You know, I think my confidence is really just from the fact that we’ve really been working on this very hard for two and a half years, and I think you have to appreciate that. 883 days to be exact since we started on this mission. And I think as everybody in Seattle can appreciate, it’s taken a tremendous amount of work, acquiring real estate, negotiating with local government officials, going through the environmental process, arranging our financing, negotiating with the Maloofs. It’s taken a lot of work to get us to that point, and it was really nice to condense that into a 90‑minute presentation and put our best foot forward.
Q. Would you have to come back here on the 18th, 19th?
CHRIS HANSEN: That’s a question that should be asked to the NBA, not me.
Q. What part of the presentation details were you most excited about today, and what kind of impression did Steve Ballmer have during the presentation?
CHRIS HANSEN: I mean, I’ll start with Steve’s very enthusiastic to be a part of this. He’s a huge basketball fan, and him and the Nordstroms and Wally (Walker) and others who have been involved in this process really represent, I think, the strong basketball support that we have. And Steve really made that point clear, I think.
What was the other part of your question?
Q. Just your favorite part of the presentation.
CHRIS HANSEN: Look, there was a lot of enjoyable moments. We’ve worked hard on our presentation. We’re very well prepared, and whether it’s discussing just kind of the unique attributes of our city, economic, social aspects of our city, to the history of basketball in Seattle to where we are in the project, you guys have seen some of the interior sketches that we’ve released. Really excited about the building we’re going to try to build. So yeah.
Q. Did you get a sense that it mattered to the owners or should it matter that the Maloof family wants to deal with your group and that’s what they expressed?
CHRIS HANSEN: I mean, that would be better asked to probably some other people. I really don’t want to get into speculating what people’s or other owners’ opinions are.
Q. When did you first have discussions with the Maloofs about purchasing the Kings?
CHRIS HANSEN: I’d also rather not get into those details. I don’t think there was a simple date is what I would say. I mean, it was a process that took time, and I think you guys all know the date we formally announced our agreement, and we announced it as soon as it was ready to go.