by Pete Nordstrom
I was made aware of Chris Hansen by Wally Walker probably at the beginning of ’12. At the time I was pleasantly surprised to learn of Chris’s intention to bring the NBA back to Seattle, but very skeptical of the likelihood of that actually happening. You see, I was part of the former ownership group and as a result, painfully aware of the myriad of challenges and circumstances that exist to have an NBA team actually work well in Seattle. Frankly, I was a little stung by my previous experience and I felt like all possible remedies and solutions had already been considered and rejected.
However, in my heart I was still a big basketball fan who as a kid waited after games to get autographs of the players, had two big Spencer Haywood posters hanging in my room, and was completely caught up in the excitement of our Championship in ’79. I was also very disappointed with how things turned out when the team got sold and eventually moved to Oklahoma. I was part of that group so I couldn’t make anyone a convenient scapegoat without holding myself accountable too. I fully understood all the challenges and the complexity of the situation. I also think somewhere in the back of my mind I felt the desire to try to right a wrong and hopefully be part of a positive solution to bring a team back to Seattle someday. So, I agreed through an invitation by Wally to meet with Chris and hear about his plan. I trust Wally and he told me that Chris had a viable plan, was a good guy, and was worth meeting. He was right. It didn’t take long for me to be thoroughly impressed by Chris’s vision, plan, and transparent sincerity to bring a team to Seattle. It all made sense and sure seemed like it could work to the benefit of the entire community. I guess I wanted to believe, and I did.
In the ensuing few months that followed I had a few more meetings and conversations with Chris where my brother Erik and I peppered him with every possible question and concern we could think of. It was super impressive how well thought out Chris’s plan was and how practical and reasonable it all seemed. So, when Erik and I were asked to join Chris, we did.
It sure feels great being part of something that is about finding a positive solution and working with such a smart and passionate guy as Chris. What has really surprised me is the amount of positive support and feedback I’ve received from so many people… way more than I would have assumed. Clearly, there are a lot of us out there who truly love basketball and see the value of the team and Arena as a positive community asset. It’s a long tough process to do this right and get approval, but it’s been rewarding and well worth it so far. I believe in Chris’s plan as much today if not more than I did back in April when we first met. I encourage everyone to keep things positive and let the facts of the plan carry the day for the skeptics and cynics. Having a solid, well thought out plan is super important, but what’s at least equally important is the broad support of the community, the enduring passion for the Sonics, and for making our community a great place to live. Thank you to everyone for all of your positive energy and support.
— Pete Nordstrom