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NBA awards Seattle the franchise that creates SuperSonics on December 20, 1966.
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On December 20, 1966, the NBA (National Basketball Association) awards Seattle a franchise, christened the SuperSonics. The SuperSonics will begin play for the 1967-1968 NBA season at the Seattle Center Coliseum.
Team owner Sam Schulman and manager Don Richman selected 6-6 Tom Meschery from the San Francisco Warriors, Walt Hazzard from the Los Angeles Lakers, and 13 others in the expansion draft, and 6-8 Al Tucker from Oklahoma Baptist with the team's first pick in the college draft. The first head coach was Al Bianchi, who had played for the Syracuse Nationals and Philadelphia 76ers during a 10-year career. The players on the first SuperSonics team were:
- Walt Hazzard -- led the team in scoring in inaugural season (23.9 ppg); named to the All-Star team. Traded for Lenny Wilkens after one season, but returned to Sonics for 1973-74 season after changing his name to Mahdi Abdul-Rahman;
- Bob Rule -- team's second round draft pick out of Colorado State; Sonics' second-leading scorer and rebounder; named to All-Rookie team;
- Tom Meschery -- team's first pick in expansion draft; leading rebounder in inaugural season;
- Al Tucker -- team's first-round draft pick out of Oklahoma Baptist; named to All-Rookie team;
- Rod Thorn -- selected in expansion draft; served as NBA vice president of operations from 1999-2000;
- Bob Weiss -- named head coach with the Sonics in 2005;
- Tommy Kron -- selected from St. Louis in expansion draft;
- Dorie Murrey -- member of Sonics from 1967-70;
- George Wilson -- spent one year with the team, averaged 6.2 ppg;
- Bud Olsen -- also spent one year with team;
- Henry Akin -- played in only 36 games during one season with team;
- Plummer Lott -- drafted in fifth round out of Seattle University.
The SuperSonics played their first-ever game vs. fellow expansion team the San Diego Rockets, a preseason matchup, on September 19, 1967, in San Diego.
Seattle SuperSonics 1999-2000 Media Guide ed. by Marc Moquin (Seattle: Full House Sports & Entertainment, 1999); Sharon Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy, "Ready for the Show," The Seattle Times, November 17, 1996; (www.supersonics.com).
Note: This essay was updated on November 23, 2005.
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