Magic Johnson Endorses NBA Return To Seattle; Report Says Stern Warming To Idea
Basketball HOFer Magic Johnson two weeks ago "campaigned" to bring the NBA back to Seattle four years after it left for Oklahoma City, according to Percy Allen of the SEATTLE TIMES. Johnson spoke to donors and kids at the A Plus Youth Program in Seattle and said, "It would be outstanding." Johnson said of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who is part of an investor group looking to bring a franchise to Seattle, "Steve has been working on this for a lot of years. He's been sitting in the back working on this. He's such a hoops fan. He loves this city." Johnson: "I think it's going to be great building a new arena. The city deserves that. The fans here deserve that. I think no question once all the pieces are put together, [hedge fund manager Chris] Hansen and Mr. Ballmer will come together and a team will end up here and it will be great, just like it was." Allen writes the "biggest Sonics opponent is now changing sides" as NBA Commissioner David Stern "appears to be an advocate for a team returning, judging by pro-Sonics comments he made this summer during a goodwill trip overseas." Hansen said that his "relationship with the league office has deepened the past year, since his plans to return a team to Seattle became public." Hansen said, "People may have misconstrued David's comments a little bit because they're looking at them through a very hopeful lens. The great part of that comment is David is really supportive in getting basketball back to Seattle" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/30). In Seattle, Jerry Brewer writes Stern is "primed to be an ally at the end of his Sonics-depriving tenure as the NBA commissioner." According to a recent report by YAHOO SPORTS' Adrian Wojnarowski, Stern is "determined ... to bring the NBA back to Seattle." But "most important, he wants to expunge that enormous mistake." The "Sonics' mess is one of the greatest fiascos sullying his legacy." And that is why "Seattle, which hates Stern the most, is primed to benefit from his desire to exit on more positive terms" (SEATTLE TIMES, 10/30).