Jim Fox came to the Sonics something of a journeyman, having played for five teams in his first five NBA seasons. In Seattle, Fox earned a spot in the record books with his rebounding prowess. Fox's career average of 9.0 rebounds per game ranks sixth in Sonics history, but he had the biggest night on the glass the team has ever seen. On Dec. 26, 1973, Fox grabbed 30 rebounds against the L.A. Lakers in a 129-105 win. He didn't stop there, adding 25 points and nine assists to earn a standing ovation from the Coliseum crowd. Fox averaged a double-double (11.4 points, 11.2 rebounds) in 1972-73 and was solid in the pivot during his three seasons in Seattle.
The first Sonics star, Walt Hazzard was one of the team's top picks in the expansion draft and became the team's first All-Star during the inaugural 1967-68 season, averaging 24.0 points (good for seventh in the NBA) and 6.2 assists per game. "It's a great honor," Hazzard said at the time. "To be considered one of the 20 best players in the league is quite a thrill." After the season, Hazzard was traded to Atlanta for Lenny Wilkens, who was later traded to Cleveland for Butch Beard, who was traded to Golden State for ... Hazzard (then known as Mahadi Abdul-Rahman). During his final NBA season, Hazzard provided experience off the bench for the Sonics, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 assists per game.
Position: Forward With Sonics: 1967-71 Sonics Stats: 12.5 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 2.0 apg
Unofficially, Tom Meschery was the first player in Sonics history. Officially, he was the first assistant coach in a busy four-year Seattle career. While the order of the players picked by the Sonics in the expansion draft wasn't made official, it was believed that Meschery was the first player taken. He was an established veteran who had scored double-figures all six years he played with the Warriors and was available largely because he had told Golden State he was retiring to join the Peace Corps. Meschery eventually changed his mind and had 26 points and 11 rebounds as a starter in the team's first game. Undersized at 6-6, Meschery was nonetheless the team's leading rebounder in 1967-68 and started for three seasons, even as he added coaching duties.
Position: Center With Sonics: 1967-71 Sonics Stats: 21.4 ppg, 10.0 rpg
Undersized for a center at 6-9, Bob Rule nonetheless went from second-round pick to the first pivotman for the Sonics, and a star one at that. Rule started from day one, averaging 18.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game to make the All-Rookie First Team. As a sophomore, Rule averaged 24.0 points per game, good for sixth in the NBA, and 11.5 rebounds per game. The following year saw Rule make his first and only All-Star appearance. Rule started the 1970-71 season on fire, averaging 32.7 points and 13.7 rebounds in the first three games. He had 21 points before halftime of the team's fourth game, at home against Portland, when he went down with a torn Achilles tendon, ending his season. Rule returned the following season, but was made expendable by Haywood's arrival and was dealt to Philadelphia early in the season, the last original Sonics player to depart Seattle. He was never the same after the injury.
After coming over from Phoenix shortly into the 1969-70 season, Dick Snyder became a key player for the Sonics over the next five seasons. One of the NBA's most accurate shooters at guard, Snyder shot 52.8%, 53.1% and 52.9% in his first three seasons in Seattle. He ranked fifth, fifth and fourth in the NBA, respectively, in accuracy those three seasons. Snyder was also a durable contributor who played all 82 games three times in five seasons in Seattle. Snyder peaked in 1970-71, averaging 19.4 points and 4.3 assists per game. Traded to Cleveland in May 1974 for a first-round pick, Snyder played four years with the Cavaliers before returning to Seattle to serve in a mentor role as a reserve on the 1979 Championship squad. More: Snyder: Back in Seattle
Position: Forward With Sonics: 1977-82 Sonics Stats: 10.8 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 4.0 apg
During his five-year Sonics career, John Johnson served as one of the NBA's first "point forwards," taking on ballhandling duties to help Gus Williams and Dennis Johnson put the ball in the hoop. Johnson averaged 4.0 assists per game while in Seattle, ranking ninth in Sonics history. A high-scorer early in his career, Johnson averaged double-figures from 1977-78 through 1980-81 and helped out on the glass and with his defense as well. Johnson's versatile play was a major key to the Sonics run of success in the late 1970s and early 80s. More: John Johnson - Point Forward
The final piece of the Sonics Championship team, Lonnie Shelton came to Seattle as compensation when the team lost Marvin Webster to New York as a free agent. Over the next five years - despite missing most of the 1980-81 season because of a knee injury - Shelton would go on to grab almost exactly as many rebounds as Webster (2,132 to 2,133) and outscore him 4,460 to 2,137. Shelton started the All-Star Game in 1982, when he averaged 14.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game and was an All-Defensive Second Team pick. Shelton shot a then-Sonics record 13-for-13 from the field on Mar. 15, 1979 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, scoring 28 points. More: Lonnie Shelton - Unfair Compensation
By the time he arrived in Seattle at age 34, Paul Silas was in the twilight years of his NBA career. Still, Silas showed over the next three years he had plenty more to give. While no longer a nightly double-double threat as in his prime with Phoenix and Boston, Silas played a key role off the bench, going to work in the paint. Silas averaged 8.1 rebounds per game in 1977-78, 7.0 per game in 1978-79. More important was Silas' role as an enforcer in the paint and a mentor to the young Sonics. With the experience of playing for two championship teams in Boston, Silas was a needed leader. More: A Distinguished Career
Position: Center With Sonics: 1977-78 Sonics Stats: 14.0 ppg, 12.6 rpg, 2.0 bpg
Marvin Webster spent just one season in Seattle, but he made his impact felt. Webster was the centerpiece of a five-player trade in May 1977 that was a key part of the Sonics roster makeover that led the team to the 1978 NBA Finals. Manning the middle, Webster averaged a double-double - 14.0 points per game and 12.6 rebounds per game as well as 2.0 blocks. He ranked in the NBA's top 10 in both rebounding and shot-blocking. Webster grabbed a franchise-record 21 rebounds in the first half against Atlanta on Nov. 1, finishing the game with 29 boards, one shy of the single-game Sonics record. Webster upped his averages to 16.1 points, 13.1 boards and 2.6 blocks per game in the postseason as the Sonics advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time. After the season, Webster signed with New York, bringing Lonnie Shelton to Seattle.
Michael Cage provided the Sonics toughness in the paint during six seasons in Seattle. The NBA's leading rebounder while playing for the L.A. Clippers in 1987-88, Cage was traded to the Sonics the following summer. Cage never quite matched those rebounding numbers, but he ranked in the NBA's top 10 in each of the next seasons, including 10.0 rebounds per game in 1989-90. He and Shawn Kemp are the only two Sonics players to average double-figures on the glass in the last two decades. Cage's career average of 8.1 rebounds per game is fifth in franchise history, while his career field-goal percentage (52.1%) ranks third in Sonics history. More: Sonics Ironman
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Position: Forward With Sonics: 1983-88 Sonics Stats: 20.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.4 apg
Tom Chambers served as the Sonics bridge between the last days of the championship era and the start of a new Sonics team with its own high-scoring identity. Brought to Seattle to replace Lonnie Shelton at power forward, Chambers would average at least 20 points per game three times in his five seasons in Seattle, bringing great scoring punch. Chambers' career average of 20.4 points per game ranks him sixth in franchise history. He remains in the franchise's top 10 in career points (8,028, 10th) and field goals (2,886, also 10th). The highlight of Chambers' Seattle career was unquestionably the 1986-87 season, which saw him average 23.3 points per game and make his first trip to the All-Star Game. Selected as a replacement for injured Ralph Sampson, Chambers started and scored 34 points (18 in the fourth quarter and overtime) to earn MVP honors. More: Q&A: Tom Chambers
In six years in the Green and Gold, Derrick McKey was best known for his defense, earning the nickname "Heavy D." McKey's talent was unmistakable coming out of Alabama, and the Sonics made him the ninth pick of the 1987 Draft. McKey would play both forward positions in Seattle, eventually settling in at small forward alongside Shawn Kemp. There, McKey's versatility was an asset. At 6-10, he could defend on the perimeter or in the paint. On offense, McKey loved to use his left hand, nicknamed "The Claw" by Kevin Calabro. Though he was known for his inconsistency, McKey put together four straight seasons in Seattle where he averaged around 15 points and six rebounds per game while shooting around 50% from the field.
A Hall of Famer on the strength of his standout career at North Carolina State and the early part of his NBA career in Denver, David Thompson had seen his skills deteriorate because of injuries and drug abuse by the time he joined the Sonics in 1982. Still, Thompson remained a major star who was voted to the 1983 All-Star Game, making him one of just 10 Sonics players to start an All-Star Game. Thompson averaged 15.9 points and 3.0 assists per game on 48.1% shooting. After a stint in a rehab clinic, Thompson returned the following season, but a mysterious accident at Studio 54 saw him fall down a flight of stairs, injuring his knee. He would never return to the NBA.
Sedale Threatt had the misfortune of playing for the Sonics when the team was flush in the backcourt, but he still made a major impact. By Threatt's final season in Seattle, 1990-91, the team had McMillan, Payton, Threatt, Ricky Pierce and Dana Barros all fighting for guard minutes. Still, Threatt started alongside Payton much of the season, averaging 12.7 points and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 51.9% from the field. The highlight of Threatt's Sonics career came in the 1991 Playoffs, as the Sonics battled Portland. In Game 3, the Sonics trailed by two in the waning seconds as they tried to avoid a sweep at the hands of the top-seeded Blazers. Threatt got the ball and, despite not being known for his shooting prowess, launched a 3-pointer. It went in with four seconds left, winning the game and capping Threatt's 29-point night.
"The Hawk," Hersey Hawkins, proved to be the key difference between the Sonics squads that lost in the first round of the playoffs in 1994 and 1995 and the 1996 Western Conference Champions. Hawkins, a seven-year vet with an All-Star appearance to his name by the time he arrived in Seattle, provided the veteran steadiness and outside shooting to counterbalance the Sonics athletic young core. Hawkins averaged 15.6 points per game that season to give the Sonics a fourth offensive weapon. The highlight of Hawkins' Sonics career might have come during the 1998 Playoffs against Minnesota. In Game 4, with the Sonics on the brink of elimination, Hawkins came up with 24 points on 6-for-12 shooting while quieting Timberwolves guard Stephon Marbury. Hawkins did it again as the Sonics won the deciding Game 5, scoring 24 points on 7-for-13 shooting while Marbury shot 2-for-10 from the field. In 1998-99, his final season in Seattle, Hawkins won the NBA Sportsmanship Award. More: Consummate Pro
"ED-DIE! ED-DIE! ED-DIE!" The chant rang out through the Seattle Center Coliseum after Eddie Johnson buried a shot from beyond halfcourt to beat the third-quarter buzzer in Game 2 of the Sonics 1993 Western Conference Semifinals series with Houston. The shot pushed the Sonics from down one to up two, and the momentum meant there was no way they would lose. (They didn't, winning 111-100 and going on to win the series in seven games.) But Eddie Johnson contributed far more than one big shot in nearly three seasons with the Sonics. The sharpshooter and former Sixth Man Award winner provided great reserve punch, averaging 16.2 points per game in Seattle. Johnson had some big outings in the playoffs, averaging 24.0 points per game in 1991 as the Sonics took top-seeded Portland to five games, leading the Sonics in scoring three times during the 1992 Playoffs and capping his Sonics career with 34 points in a losing effort in Game 7 of the 1993 Western Conference Finals. More: Always a Straight Shooter
An unmatched pure shooter, Ricky Pierce piled up the points for the Sonics as both a starter and a reserve. Pierce's career Sonics scoring average of 18.5 points per game ranks ninth in franchise history despite the fact that Pierce came off the bench in one of his three full seasons in Seattle and played alongside budding stars Payton and Kemp. Per 48 minutes, no player scored more frequently in their Sonics career than Pierce (31.3 points per 48 minutes). Never a great 3-point shooter, Pierce excelled from 15 to 20 feet, where he was almost automatic. That goes double at the charity stripe; Pierce is the Sonics best free-throw shooter of all time at 90.6%.
Despite never playing more than 200 minutes in a season, Steve Scheffler lasted five seasons in Seattle - the team winning 50 games or more in each - and became one of the most memorable players in team history. Scheffler justified his spot on the roster by making Kemp work in practice and always bringing his lunchpail to do whatever the team needed. Off the court, he challenged young fans who wanted his autograph by making them correctly identify state capitals or answer other questions. In blowouts, fans cheered for Scheffler to enter the game and celebrated when he got on the scoreboard - most notably his lone career 3-pointer in a 113-81 victory over Miami at KeyArena in January 1996.
Vin Baker's Sonics career got off to a fast start. Replacing Shawn Kemp, dealt for Baker as part of a three-way deal, during the 1997-98 season, Baker hit a pair of game-winning shots as the Sonics won 61 games and their third straight Pacific Division Championship. After leading the Sonics in scoring, rebounding and field-goal percentage, Baker was an All-Star for the fourth straight year and an All-NBA Second Team pick. Baker was unable to match the success of that first season, but he scored double-figures and averaged at least five rebounds per game in all five of his seasons in Seattle. Baker ranks 17th in franchise history in scoring (5,054) and 15th in rebounding (2,252).
Arguably the most efficient player in Sonics history, Brent Barry provided sharpshooting for the perimeter for the Sonics for five seasons, four of them as a starter. Barry's 42.9% career 3-point percentage is the best mark in Sonics history, and he led the NBA in 2000-01 by shooting 47.6% from downtown. Barry's 669 career 3s in a Sonics uniform rank him sixth all-time. Barry finished in the NBA's top five in True Shooting Percentage all five seasons he suited up for the Sonics, leading the league in this category in both 2001-02 and 2003-04. 2001-02 was Barry's finest season, as he averaged 14.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Barry ranks in the Sonics all-time top 10 in both assists (1,668, eighth) and steals (528, 10th).
More: Barry Makes the Sonics Better
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Position: Center With Sonics: 2000-01 Sonics Stats: 9.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 bpg
After 15 seasons in New York, future Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing came to Seattle in a blockbuster 12-player, four-team trade that ranks as one of the biggest in NBA history in terms of players and teams involved. Despite being 38 with knees that seemed older, Ewing started 79 games in the middle for the Sonics and recorded 14 double-doubles, leading the team with 7.4 rebounds per game. Amongst players who have suited up for the Sonics, Ewing's career total of 23,757 points is the highest.
One of the best dunkers in Sonics history, Desmond Mason became the first Sonics player to win the NBA's Slam Dunk Contest as a rookie in 2001. Mason finished third and second the following two seasons. Mason had some memorable dunks in games as well, most notably a one-hand tip dunk to beat the buzzer and send an eventual Sonics win over Charlotte in 2002 into overtime. Mason developed into one of the league's best sixth men and was averaging 14.1 points and 6.4 rebounds per game off the bench in 2002-03 before he was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks with Gary Payton in the deal that brought Allen to Seattle.
More: Desmond Mason Sixth Man Central
One of the most successful Washington natives in Sonics history, Luke Ridnour has started 159 games at point guard the last two seasons. Ridnour ranks 12th in Sonics history in assists (1,196), with a good chance of moving into the franchise's all-time top 10 this year. Last year was Ridnour's best campaign. He averaged 11.5 points and 7.0 assists per game, joining six other players in franchise history who have averaged at least seven assists per game during a season. Ridnour's 87.0% career free-throw percentage will rank him fifth in Sonics history when he picks up the additional 14 attempts he needs to qualify.
More: Sonics Player Page
With just 29 games in a Sonics uniform to date, Chris Wilcox is still building his Seattle legacy. He's off to a great start, however, after averaging 14.1 points and 8.2 rebounds per game on 59.2% shooting after coming to Seattle last February. In those 29 games, Wilcox had 68 dunks (2.3 per game) - enough to lead the team in dunks. Wilcox also put together one of the Sonics best individual efforts in recent memory, a 26-point, 24-rebound game against the Houston Rockets on Apr. 4 that was the first 20-20 game by a Sonics player in more than a decade. Wilcox was named Western Conference Player of the Week for Apr. 3-9.
More: Sonics Player Page