54 years ago, a new NBA franchise appeared on the NBA floors: the Seattle SuperSonics. This team played its very first game in its history against the San Francisco Warriors. A failed start with a heavy defeat 144-116.
While the rumor of a return of a franchise to Seattle, the city of Washington State arose in the NBA in 1967. The team was then referred to as the SuperSonics. Why this nickname? Quite simply in reference to the city’s aerospace activity and specifically its Boeing Supersonic Transport. At that time, this American city acquired its first collective sports franchise. Next will be the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL and the Seattle Mariners in the MLB.
A LOSS OF 28 POINTS
Owner of the Seattle SuperSonics that year, Sam Schulman, was able to see with his own eyes the very first meeting played by his franchise. On October 13, 1967, Seattle players coached by Al Bianchi scored their very first baskets against the San Francisco Warriors, a team that would later go by the Golden State name. That day, at the Cow Palace (sports hall located in Daly City, California, opened in April 1941), two players stood out on the Seattle side: Walt Hazzard who scored 30 points and his teammate Tom Meschery ex-player of the Warriors 26 units coupled with his 11 rebounds. Despite the great attacking form of these two players, Seattle lost the game by 28 points: 144-116.
And to think that Meschery wanted to stop his career and join the Peace Corps in South Korea (an agency independent of the American government, created on March 1, 1961 by John Fitzgerald Kennedy, whose mission is to promote peace and friendship in the world). Peace Corps volunteers work with governments, schools, and entrepreneurs on topics such as education, health, HIV / AIDS, business, information technology, agriculture and ecology. Finally, Meschery had found a nice financial deal to stay in the NBA and don the Seattle jersey.
On this first match in the history of Seattle, Dorie Murrey who was part of this team, remembers it as he confided to seattlepi.com: “ I had never been to the Cow Palace. And I was wondering “what the hell is this?” It is a farmyard ”.
A week later, on October 20, Seattle had a second loss for their first home game at Center Coliseum against another new NBA franchise in 1967: the San Diego Rockets. Final score 121-114. The next day, these two teams met again. The result for the Sonics will then be quite different. Seattle tore off the field for its first-ever North American Championship success. Success 117-110 after extra time. Efforts that paid off.
First Seattle SuperSonics logo in 1967-1968
Tom Meschery – Seattle (c) Getty
Seattle – San Francisco scoresheet October 13, 1967
TWO DISTINGUISHED ROOKIES
The first Seattle SuperSonics squad in history was made up of 3 rookies and 9 players from the expansion draft (these players are chosen from other NBA teams and have not been protected by them)
|JOB||NUMBER||PLAYER||CUT||WEIGHT||DATE OF BIRTH||COLLEGE|
|Leader||42||Hazzard, Walt||1.88||84 kg||15/04/1942||UCLA|
|Interior||10||Me, Henry||2.08||102 kg||31/07/1944||Morehead State|
|Back||11||Kron, Tommy||1.96||91 kg||28/02/1943||Kentucky|
|Winger||43||Lott, Plummer||1.96||95 kg||11/12/1945||Seattle|
|Interior||14||Meschery, Tom||1.98||98 kg||26/10/1938||Saint Mary’s|
|Interior||41||Murrey, Dorie||2.03||98 kg||07/09/1943||Detroit|
|Interior||24||Olsen, Bud||2.03||100 kg||25/07/1940||Louisville|
|Interior||45||Rule, Bob||2.06||100 kg||29/06/1944||Colorado State|
|Back||44||Thorn, Rod||1.93||88 kg||23/05/1941||West Virginia|
|Winger||33||Tucker, Al||2.03||86 kg||24/02/1943||Oklahoma Baptist|
|Leader||12||Weiss, Bob||1.88||82 kg||07/05/1942||Penn State|
|Pivot||15||Wilson, George||2.03||102 kg||09/05/1942||Cincinnati|
In this roster, among the rookies, Al Tucker and Bob Rule, respectively drafted in 6th and 19th position of the draft, are part of the best rookie team in 1967. The average stats of the two young players of the time are dazzling: Tucker (13.1 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists), Rule (18.1 points, 9.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists). Good pickaxes for the SuperSonics.
For their first NBA season and an average attendance in the Coliseum hall of over 6,500 spectators, the sporting record is more than very negative throughout the regular season: 23 wins and 59 losses. But Seattle will see better days and the consecration with the title of NBA champion in 1979 against the Washington Bullets.
Written by Richard Sengmany