The Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast took a one-week pivot and became The Talkin’ Sonics Podcast.
Legendary voice of the Seattle Supersonics and current voice of the Portland Trail Blazers Kevin Calabro joined the show to discuss his top memories in his two decades of calling Sonics basketball.
We, of course, covered “The Last Dance,” including his overall impressions of ESPN’s Michael Jordan docuseries as well as how he felt about the portrayal of Chicago’s NBA Finals victory over Seattle in 1996. Calabro offered an excellent breakdown of that series as well as his thoughts on George Karl walking past Jordan at dinner the night before Game 1.
But for all the incredible stories that were shared during the 40-minute conversation, there was one response that provided hope that the Pacific Northwest may once again have two NBA teams in the not-so distant future.
I asked Calabro point blank: “What is your best guess as to when the Sonics return to Seattle?”
His answer shocked me to be honest. Maybe that’s because I’ve come to expect the worst when it comes to the NBA, but that’s why I think all of us heartbroken basketball fans needed to hear Calabro’s comments.
“I’m going to be an optimist and say it will be inside of the next five years,” he said boldly.
It’s been more than a decade since the Sonics departed for Oklahoma City following the 2007-08 season, but there is some reason to share Calabro’s rose-colored outlook. The still unnamed NHL Seattle team is set to begin play in 2021. They’ll do so in a sterling new venue that will take the place of the old Key Arena.
As Seattle fans know all too well, the venue was one of the biggest factors in losing the Sonics, but in this case, it should be one of the biggest catalysts for the return of professional basketball.
“I don’t know that it will be expansion, but obviously it will happen one of two ways: relocation or expansion.”
As it stands right now, no NBA franchise seems to be on rocky enough ground to where relocation is in the cards. However, expansion continues to make sense for the NBA. More than half the league makes the playoffs (16/30) as it stands right now. Adding two teams (Las Vegas come to mind immediately as the other location) is possible.
Of course who knows how COVID-19 will change that timeline. Calabro called coronavirus the “huge x-factor” in this equation. And he’s right. We don’t know what the financial landscape in professional sports will be like one year from now, let alone five.
The collective hope is that this will end up being a minor bump in the road. That’s exactly what Calabro envisions.
“Having calculated the x-factor, I still think within five years, yes, we’ll see NBA basketball in Seattle,” Calabro said.
I’ve learned not to hold my breath as it pertains to the NBA, but I’m keeping all my fingers crossed all the same hoping that Calabro’s forecast ends up being a reality.
You can listen to the entire Calabro interview here.