Kevin Pelton, SUPERSONICS.COM
| October 18, 2006
Last week, Seattle SuperSonics season ticket holders received their tickets for the 2006-07 season. There was one fan, however, who deserved something even more special than the limited-edition commemorative mini-poster season ticket holders got with their tickets. Inaugural season ticket-holder Jim Power holds priority number one, making him officially the team's longest-tenured season ticket holder.
Wednesday, Sonics Coach Bob Hill, Squatch and Denee from the Sonics Dance Team went to Power's office in Kirkland - which features a framed photo of KeyArena during the 1996 NBA Finals - to deliver him his tickets and a basketball signed by the entire Sonics team.
"It was shock," Power said of his response. "I thought they were just bringing over my tickets, not the whole team, coach, etc."
Power was able to find a gift of his own for Hill to deliver to prospective new Sonics Chairman Clayton Bennett - a framed copy of the article announcing Seattle had been awarded the Sonics. Adding to the sense of history, Power contacted Howard E. Schmidt - the Seattle schoolteacher who, with his son, Brent, won a contest to name the Sonics - and had Schmidt in attendance as well.
Power reminisced about having the opportunity to attend a meeting early in the process of bringing an NBA team to Seattle because of his business, Power Tours.
"(I remember) that first meeting with Dick Vertlieb," said Power. "Mr. Vertlieb [the Sonics inaugural business manager and later general manager] was the one that really brought this team up here. He had a great idea. He was a stock broker and his friend Don Richman [the team's first GM] knew Mr. (Sam) Schulman [the team's first owner]. Vertlieb said, 'Go get Schulman and get the money to promote a basketball team in Seattle.'"
A little more than a decade later, Power was celebrating the Sonics first trip to the NBA Finals to take on the Washington Bullets when he was able to take advantage of a chance to see the Sonics in Washington.
"They made an announcement that anyone who wants to go on the team plane, come down here now," Power recalled. "I signed up, ran home and told the family, 'We're headed for Washington, D.C.' My wife was saying, 'No, no, no," but we did go. We went the first year and the second year (1979). We took the family and we went into New York City between games."
Now, Power has another indelible memory to mark the 40th Anniversary of Sonics Basketball.
Bob Hill delivers Jim Power his 2006-07 Sonics season tickets.
Power, holding tickets, poses with Hill and Denee from the Sonics Dance Team.