I had a thought in my head earlier this week that felt crazy at first.
Is it possible that Russell Wilson is already Seattle’s most iconic athlete of all time?
An easy case can be made in Wilson’s favor. I wouldn’t argue against anyone who believes it’s still Ken Griffey Jr., but as Wilson continues to take the Seahawks to the playoffs and string Pro Bowl seasons together, the scales will eventually tilt indisputably in the quarterback’s favor.
Not only does Wilson play the most prominent position in sports, but he’s been the catalyst for the most successful run in Seattle sports history. He helped lead the Seahawks to the franchise’s first Super Bowl victory, while the Mariners are still yet to win an American League pennant.
Wilson, through eight seasons with likely at least another eight ahead of him, already has a ridiculous amount of NFL records to his name. Like Griffey, Wilson will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer barring a catastrophic and unforeseen downturn in his play.
You can’t overstate the mystique surrounding “The Kid” in his prime. Griffey had video games named after him and a swing that was emulated in backyards around the world. He was a true phenom whose glove was on par with his generational ability as a hitter. However, Wilson’s athleticism and off-script Houdini magic has a similar jaw-dropping effect in a “how on earth did he just do that” sort of way. He also redefined how the NFL evaluates the most important position in sports. There's no chance that Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray get drafted No. 1 overall without Wilson's success.
Playing his entire career in Seattle would be another valuable line on Wilson’s résumé when it comes to this conversation. While Griffey's defenders will surely scream "recency bias," it's important to note that revisionist history is also a thing. People conveniently forget how painful it was when Griffey requested a trade and left Seattle. He simply never made Seattle his home in the way Wilson has.
And that's why the real kicker, in my opinion, is how Wilson has embraced the Seattle community since he arrived as a third-round pick back in 2012. His weekly trips to Seattle Children’s Hospital has a profound impact on the patients and families he comes in contact with. His Why Not You Foundation continues to give opportunities to underprivileged youth across the greater Seattle area. Just last week, he and his wife Ciara donated one million meals through Food Lifeline to help those in need during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
His purchase of a minority stake in the Seattle Sounders and public support of bringing back the Sonics only deepened his bond with the city.
When it’s all said and done, Wilson will not just be Seattle’s undisputed GOAT, but the way he’s revered in this city will rival any athlete’s respective fame in any other region of the country. It’s rare, it’s unprecedented, it’s worth celebrating regularly and Seahawks fans should make sure they aren’t taking it for granted.