4. Throwback Thursday: 40th Anniversary of the Seattle SuperSonics’ NBA Title
By Nick Shekeryk
More than a decade ago, the Seattle SuperSonics packed up and left town. Though fans may still feel the hurt of not having a local NBA team, there will always be the memories of the franchise’s lone World Championship title during the 1978-1979 season — 40 years ago this week.
On June 1, 1979, the SuperSonics clinched the NBA Championship title against the Washington Bullets, winning the series four games to one. Led by future Hall of Famers Dennis Johnson and Jack Sikma, the Sonics were determined to avenge their NBA Finals loss to the Bullets in the previous season.
After losing the first game of the series on the road by a score of 99-97, the Sonics’ defense prevailed in game two, holding Washington to just 30 points in the second half and winning the contest 92-82. Back in Seattle for game three of the series, the Sonics took charge. Behind the scoring attack from point guard Gus Williams and Sikma, who combined for 52 points, the Sonics won handedly by a score of 105-95.
In game four, the Bullets overcame a 36-point deficit to push the game to overtime, but it wasn’t enough to sink the hot hands of Williams and Johnson, who combined for 68 points in the 114-112 victory. Headed back east for game five, poor shooting from the Bullets gave Seattle the edge, the victory, and the title. Johnson won series MVP honors.
The SuperSonics’ title was a big moment for Seattle, as it was the city’s first major sports title in more than 60 years, when the Seattle Metropolitans of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association won the Stanley Cup in 1917.
As I watched game three of last night’s 2019 NBA Finals matchup between the Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors, I couldn’t help but think how the landscape of not only the NBA, but the city of Seattle, would be different if the Sonics were around today. Hopefully the team return will someday, but until then, we can revel in the glory of the magical title run that took place 40 years ago.
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