As part of the Sonics 40th Anniversary Celebration, you the fans had the chance to help select the Sonics 40th Anniversary Team right here on SUPERSONICS.COM. Because of the support for both Sam Perkins and Slick Watts in voting for the 15th and final Wild Card spot on the roster, the 40th Anniversary Team has been expanded to 16 players.
The 40th Anniversary Team was honored Nov. 3-5 during the Sonics Weekend of Legends presented by KeyBank, which culminated in a special halftime ceremony during the Sonics matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 5. The 40th Anniversary Team joined current Sonics players and coaches at the final stop of the Sonics & Storm Legends Tour on Nov. 4 as a brand new court was unveiled at Van Asselt Community Center and dedicated in the name of all Sonics and Storm fans. On Nov. 3, members of the 40th Anniversary Team made appearances at local KeyCenters.
The 16 members of the 40th Anniversary Team combined for 41 of the 48 All-Star appearances in franchise history and 22 of the 23 Sonics All-NBA Team awards. The list also includes an All-Star Game MVP (Wilkens, ’69), an NBA Finals MVP (Johnson, ’79) and a Defensive Player of the Year (Payton, ’96). In four decades of Sonics basketball 239 different players have suited up in Seattle, yet these 16 greats have scored over 40 percent of all the points in team history.
a video celebrating the Sonics 40th Anniversary Team.
The Sonics 40th Anniversary Team - minus three current players or coaches - was honored on Nov. 5.
With just three full seasons in Seattle, Ray Allen has already emerged as a Sonics legend. Allen's average of 24.1 points per game is second only to Spencer Haywood in Sonics history, and Allen has already become one of 17 players in franchise history to surpass 5,000 career points. Another season of 200-plus 3-pointers could make Allen the team's all-time leader in the category. An All-Star all three years in Seattle thus far, Allen earned All-NBA Second Team honors in 2004-05 and won the NBA's Sportsmanship award for the 2002-03 season. Last year, Allen set a league record with 269 3-pointers and passed Dale Ellis for second in NBA history in 3s along the way.
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For more than a decade, Fred Brown was synonymous with the Seattle SuperSonics. Taken seventh overall in the 1971 Draft out of Iowa, Brown quickly established himself as a star thanks to outside shooting ability that earned him the nickname "Downtown." On March 23, 1974 at Golden State, Brown scored a franchise-record 58 points. His best season was 1975-76, when he averaged a career-best 23.1 points per game and earned his only All-Star selection. Three seasons later, Brown was a captain and sixth man for the Sonics 1979 Championship team, providing instant offense (14.0 ppg) off the bench. The following season, Brown led the NBA in 3-point percentage (44.3%) during the first season of the shot's existence. Brown retired as the Sonics all-time leader in games (963), points (14,018) and steals (1,149). He still ranks second in games and points and had his #32 jersey retired in 1986. More: The Original "Mr. Sonic"
When the Sonics aquired Dale Ellis from the Dallas Mavericks in July 1986, they not only got a steal. They also continued the legacy of great shooters in Green and Gold that started with "Downtown" Freddy Brown and continues today with Ray Allen. Ellis had his own shooting-inspired nickname - "3D," in honor of his ability behind the 3-point line. Ellis was passed last season by Allen, but remains third in NBA history with 1,719 3-pointers. While with the Sonics, Ellis won the 1989 Long Distance Shootout on All-Star Saturday Night, and he led the NBA in 3-point percentage in 1997-98, during his second stint in Seattle. Ellis averaged better than 20 points per game from 1986-87, when he was the NBA's Most Improved Player after joining the Sonics, through 1989-90, and his average of 27.5 points per game in 1988-89 is the second-best mark in Sonics history. After being traded to Milwaukee in February 1991, Ellis rejoined the Sonics to help lead them to the Pacific Division Championship in 1997-98 as a sixth man. More: Ellis Honored by Legends Tour
Team and player together had to fight to the Supreme Court to get Spencer Haywood in a Sonics uniform, and he proved well-worth the effort. Haywood left the University of Detroit early to play one season with Denver in the ABA, winning MVP honors. He then jumped to the Sonics against the NBA's rule prohibiting players from playing in the NBA before their college class had graduated - overturned because of Haywood. Haywood became the first Sonics player to be named to the All-NBA Team, earning First Team honors in 1971-72 and 1972-73 and Second Team honors in 1973-74 and 1974-75. He played in four straight All-Star Games and his single-season averages of 29.2 ppg (72-73), 13.4 rpg (73-74) and 43.4 mpg (71-72) remain Sonics records, as are his career averages of 24.9 points and 12.1 rebounds. The first Seattle superstar, Haywood led the team to its first playoff appearance in 1974-75. More: Haywood Q&A | Haywood: Still the Man
Dennis Johnson had arguably the worst game in Sonics history. In Game 7 of the 1978 Finals, Johnson shot 0-for-14 from the field as the Sonics lost to Washington. Johnson more than made up for that performance the following year, winning Finals MVP after averaging 22.6 points per game in the Sonics five-game win in the rematch with the Bullets. Johnson was an All-Star in 1979 and 1980, earning All-NBA Second Team honors the latter season. A standout defender, Johnson made the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 1978-79 and 1979-80, two of his six career First Team selections. Johnson was one of the best second-round picks in Sonics history before being traded to Phoenix in the summer of 1980. More: Dennis Johnson - NBA Champion
When he jumped to the NBA and the Sonics without playing college basketball but proved ready to play right away, Shawn Kemp was known as "The Manchild." Later, he grew into "The Reignman," becoming one of the Sonics dominant superstars. An All-Star the final five years of his Seattle career, Kemp averaged a double-double six straight seasons. Kemp endeared himself to Sonics fans with his array of powerful dunks, but he was a skilled player in the post as well who added the jumper to his repertoire and was dominant in the 1996 NBA Finals, averaging 23.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. Kemp remains the Sonics leading shot-blocker (959), second-leading rebounder (5,978) and fourth-leading scorer (10,148). More: The Manchild Who Became The Man | Remembering Shawn Kemp
While it seems like just yesterday that Rashard Lewis was drafted by the Sonics in the second round of the 1998 Draft, Lewis is entering his ninth season in Seattle and has made his mark on the Sonics record books. Already, Lewis is one of just six players to play at least 500 games with the Sonics. He also ranks in the franchise all-time top 10 in points (seventh, 8,909), rebounds (seventh, 3,199), 3-pointers (second, 822), steals (eighth, 640) and blocks (eighth, 323). An All-Star in 2005, Lewis has averaged better than 20 points per game each of the last two seasons. His 50-point outburst in Japan against the L.A. Clippers on Oct. 31, 2003 made him one of just four Sonics players to top the 50-point mark.
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The man known only as "X" (or "The X-Man") was a star in his five-plus seasons in Seattle. The fourth pick of the 1985 Draft, Xavier McDaniel averaged 17.1 points and 8.0 rebounds per game as a rookie, earning All-Rookie Team honors, and never looked back. McDaniel's career scoring average of 20.7 ppg is fifth in Sonics franchise history. He ranks eighth career in both points scored (8,438) and rebounds (2,839) and seventh in field goals (3,496). An All-Star in 1988, McDaniel averaged at least 20 points per game in his final four full seasons in Seattle before being traded to Phoenix in Dec. 1990. The X-Man also made a name as one of the great intimidators in franchise history. More: No One Played Harder | Q&A: Xavier McDaniel
"Mr. Sonic" played 796 games in his 12-year career, all of it spent in Seattle. Only Fred Brown and Gary Payton spent more time with the Sonics. A 1986 second-round pick out of North Carolina State, McMillan immediately stepped in as the starter at the point. As a rookie, McMillan set a franchise and NBA rookie record with 25 assists against the Clippers on Feb. 23, 1987. He peaked in terms of assists in 1988-89, when his average of 9.3 per game was the second best in Sonics history. Two seasons later, McMillan moved to the bench as a mentor for Gary Payton. In that role, he played three different positions and led the NBA with 2.96 steals per game in 1993-94. He was a Second Team All-Defense pick in both 1993-94 and 1994-95 and finished second in Sixth Man Award voting in 1993-94. McMillan's leadership was invaluable during the Sonics run of four division titles in five seasons in the 1990s. He ranks second in Sonics history in career assists (4,893) and steals (1,544), sixth in rebounds (3,222) and fourth in minutes (20,462).
Quite simply the most decorated player in Sonics history, Gary Payton played 999 games in 12-plus seasons in the Green and Gold. He was named to nine straight All-Star Games and was selected for the All-NBA Team nine straight seasons, including two First Team picks. Payton made his name as "The Glove" with his defense, and he was the 1995-96 Defensive Player of the Year along with nine consecutive All-Defense First Team picks - more than all other Sonics players combined. Payton is the Sonics all-time leader in points (18,207), assists (7,384), steals (2,107), field goals (7,292) and 3-pointers (917). More: Gary Payton's Sonics Career in Photos
"Big Smooth," Sam Perkins, married two traits atypical to the center position - a perpetually laid-back attitude and a sweet stroke from downtown. It was atypical, but it worked for the Sonics. Perkins averaged double-figures in five of his six seasons in Seattle and spread the defense to clear the paint for Kemp. Perkins' 592 3-pointers rank sixth in Sonics franchise history. He also had one of the best nights the NBA has ever seen from beyond the arc, tying the league record for most 3-pointers without a miss by shooting 8-for-8 against the Toronto Raptors on Jan. 15, 1997. He did not attempt a single two or miss a shot in scoring 26 points in the Sonics 122-78 blowout win. Perkins' biggest shot came when he hit a game-winning 3-pointer as the Sonics stole Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals in Phoenix.
The prototype versatile small forward, Detlef Schrempf neatly complemented Kemp and Payton and was twice an All-Star during his Sonics career. Schrempf's versatility put him all over the Sonics record book - ninth in 3-pointers (340) and assists (1,652), 11th in points (6,870) and 12th in rebounds (2,608). Schrempf's best season came in 1994-95, when he took advantage of the shorter 3-point line to hit a Sonics-record 51.4% of his 3-pointers and ranked second in the NBA in True Shooting Percentage while averaging 19.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Schrempf earned All-NBA Third Team honors after the season. More: Detlef Schrempf Coach Page
Walter Iooss Jr./NBAE
Position: Center With Sonics: 1977-86 Sonics Stats: 16.8 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 3.3 apg
The greatest center in Sonics history, Sikma manned the position from early in the 1978-79 season - when he moved over from power forward after starter Tom LaGarde was injured - through 1985-86, when he was traded to Milwaukee at his request. During that time, Sikma scored 12,034 points (third in Sonics history) and grabbed 7,729 rebounds, still the team's best mark, while blocking 705 shots (second). An All-Star seven straight years from 1979-85, Sikma outplayed Hall of Famer Wes Unseld in the 1979 NBA Finals, averaging 16.2 points and 14.8 rebounds per game in the Sonics five-game victory. More: From Unknown Draft Pick to All-Star | Championship Q&A | Legends Tour Q&A
Throughout his Sonics career and even now, Slick Watts remains one of the most popular players in Sonics history. While that is rightfully Watts's legacy, it should not detract from what he achieved on the court. Undrafted out of tiny Xavier of Louisiana, Watts became a full-time starter in his third full season in the Sonics and averaged 8.1 assists and 3.2 steals per game, leading the league in both categories. Watts earned All-Defensive First Team honors that season. Watts's 833 career steals rank fifth in Sonics history, and he's 2.5 steals per game are the top mark in Sonics history. He also ranks third in career assists per game. More: Legends Q&A | Book Q&A
Coming over from the Atlanta Hawks after the Sonics inaugural season, Lenny Wilkens immediately gave the team credibility and an established star. Wilkens was an All-Star each of his first three seasons in Seattle, and was named the game's MVP in 1971 after scoring 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting. Wilkens was the Sonics first ever league leader, averaging 9.1 assists per game in 1969-70. Wilkens averaged at least eight assists the next two years as well, ranking second in the league both years. His career average of 9.0 assists per game is the Sonics franchise record, and no other Sonics player has averaged more than eight assists per game. Wilkens did it all while serving as the team's head coach during his last three seasons, carrying the team to a record 47 wins More: Wilkens: Sonics Hero Forever.
The Wizard worked his magic in leading the Sonics to the 1979 NBA Championship. A lightning-quick guard who was a scoring point guard before they were in vogue, Williams averaged 20.3 points per game in his six-year Sonics career, making him one of just seven players in team history to average 20 or more in their career. Williams saved his best for the 1979 NBA Finals, leading the Sonics in scoring in all five games and averaging 28.6 points per game before throwing the ball high in the air as time ran out on the Sonics Championship. Williams made two All-Star Teams and All-NBA First and Second Teams. He ranks fifth in Sonics history in scoring (9,676 points) and fourth in both assists (2,685) and steals (1,086). More: The Wizards | Championship Q&A