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Russell Wilson partners with Sonics Arena Group

shawn kemp gary payton, sonics, thunder

Ever since the heartbreak of the Seattle Supersonics’ relocation to Oklahoma City in 2008, the city of Seattle has sought the return of basketball. Existing efforts to build a new arena in Seattle have recently progressed with the backing of one very prominent Seattleite.

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has joined the effort in bringing basketball back to Seattle. Wilson recently partnered with Sonics Arena Group, which is currently the most prominent bidding group attempting to build the planned SoDo arena, which would house both an NBA and NHL team.

In doing so, Wilson joins a group that currently includes entrepreneur Chris Hansen, former Sonics executive Willy Walker, and Erik and Pete Nordstrom as partners.

While Wilson does not bring to the group the same monetary value brought by the likes of Walker and the Nordstrom brothers, he does bring a prominent face to the table. The addition of Wilson augments the group’s chances of recruiting other athletes and investors to join the effort to build the SoDo arena. Furthermore, Seattle politicians would potentially be faced with increased scorn if they chose to veto the arena given Wilson’s popularity.

While the relocation of an existing franchise to Seattle seems unlikely, there remains the possibility of an expansion draft in the near future. Given the impressive strength of fan bases in Seattle, it may likely be difficult for the NBA to veto the chance to build a new Seattle franchise should a new arena be approved and built.

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