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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

April 24, 2014 at 7:02 AM

NBA name game: Goodbye, Sonics; hello, Seattle … Spruce?


If not the SuperSonics (link to Wednedsday’s Take 2 post), what name then, for a new NBA franchise in Seattle?

The city of Baltimore, through focus groups and various rounds of voting, came up with the Ravens.

Just as that name is linked to famous Baltimore resident Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, a team name should evoke something of the place; in this case of Seattle, of the Pacific Northwest.

And in keeping with our storied Seattle sports history (Seattle SuperSonics, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders, Seattle Storm, Seattle Smashers – even Seattle Slew) it wouldn’t hurt if the name contained a little ‘s’ alliteration and hissed like steam from a kettle.

It is the prerogative of the new franchise owners, in consultation with the fans, to choose a sports franchise name for its new team, but to get the ball rolling, here’s a few suggestions:

The Seattle Shultzies, the ClayB’s, or the Seattle SillyPoliticians.

The Ecoterrorists, the Protesters or the Seattle EspressoSlammers.

The Seattle SockeyeSalmon, the Seattle Spruce or the Saplings.

The Treehuggers, the Treecutters or the Seattle SeedyGranolas.

The Seattle Starbucks, the Microsofts or the Seattle BoeingStrikers.

How about the Seattle SnootySnobs?

The Rain (not the Reign) or the Grunge.

The GreenMeanies or the MeanGreenies?

Seattleites, meet the Seattle Lights.

OK, I’ve boiled it down to my four entries for the naming of the next Seattle NBA franchise.  All four fulfill the ‘s’ sound naming tradition as well as reflect characteristics or sentiments of Seattleites.

They also have the benefit of never letting us forget how we lost the SuperSonics and why it was necessary to dream up a new name in the first place.

1) The Seattle Stern: It only makes sense to pay tribute to the lovable commissioner who made this new name possible.  It reflects Seattleites moods these days after what went down, and just think, every time we steer our boat out into the Sound we get to show him our beautiful backside.

2) The Seattle Steamed: OK, perhaps the league would not approve of Choice 1.  This choice makes the same statement in a veiled way: We’re steamed and we’re not going to forget.  Plus, a bunch of angry ballplayers sounds intimidating, doesn’t it?

3) The Seattle Citizens:  Yeah, it’s tame.  But it lets us take the high road while at the same time making a statement.  It celebrates the citizens of Seattle who did not cave to unreasonable, unrealistic demands made by a conspiring band of out-of-towners and a smug commissioner.  It’s a respectable name, fits Seattle’s ideals, and still rolls off the tongue.  If Washington could have the Senators, why not the Citizens?

4) The Seattle Sound: I know, you may think it’s too much like Sounders. But the Seattle Soundwould not refer to the body of water, but rather to the sounds that have made up Seattle’s rich music history:  Hendrix, Heart, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Macklemore and all the rest.  With an S-lined, electric guitar logo, that name would quickly take on its own, unique character.  And, hey, New Orleans had the Jazz.

Not going to happen, you say?  (Seattle Cynics, Seattle Naysayers).

Too much money behind the SuperSonics “brand”?

It’s only natural that Sonics fans want their team name to live on into eternity.  I’m one of those fans.   We all want to cling to our glory days and our history.

It will, and we will.

But ask yourself: Will calling a new team the Sonics really be the same?

Let’s reinvent basketball in Seattle.  By interring the SuperSonics name and letting it Rest In (Basketball) Peace we immortalize it, make it legend.

By incorporating SuperSonic lore in the architecture of the new Seattle team’s arena, we assure the continuity of the two franchises, old and new.

With the SuperSonics as the foundation for whatever name a new team adopts, they will live on even stronger.  They will remain a legend that no one will forget.

A new team deserves a new name.  These are my entries but, obviously, it should be up to the people of Seattle to decide.

Andrew Rothgery has been a lifelong Sonics, Seahawks, Sounders and Mariners fan since he grew up on Bainbridge Island in the 1970s and ’80s.  He teaches Spanish at the University of Oregon and lives in Springfield, Ore.

Want to be a reader contributor to The Seattle Times’ Take 2 blog? Email your original, previously unpublished work or proposal to Sports Editor Don Shelton at or Not all submissions can be published. The Times reserves the right to edit and publish any submissions online and/or in print.



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