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City of Seattle
Gregory J. Nickels (former Mayor)

SUBJECT: Mayor Nickels Working to Keep NBA in Seattle

4/15/2008  5:15:00 PM

Mayor Nickels Working to Keep NBA in Seattle

SEATTLE -As the National Basketball Association (NBA) Board of Governors prepares to vote on a proposal to allow the Sonics to leave Seattle, Mayor Greg Nickels continues his effort to keep KeyArena as a home for professional basketball.

Nickels thanked Governor Christine Gregoire for urging the NBA board to postpone its vote on the Sonics proposal. And he welcomed news that former owner Howard Schultz was preparing to sue the Sonics over a breach of contact with the current ownership group.

“I’m pleased that the governor and legislative leaders are joining with us in the fight to keep the NBA in Seattle,” Nickels said. “We will need their support for bold action to fund renovations at KeyArena. I’ve said from day one that with local, committed ownership, we can create a great future for KeyArena and the Sonics right here at home.”

Nickels said while he expects the NBA board will approve the relocation, it should wait until legal issues over the lease and the sale of the team are resolved.

“You don’t try to call game over when there is time on the clock,” Nickels said. “There is only one referee who really matters at this point and that is the one wearing the robes.”

Regardless of the outcome of the vote, expected Friday, Seattle will continue with its efforts to hold the team to its lease on KeyArena, which runs through 2010. A trial date is set for June.

And the mayor will continue to work on finding a solution to renovate the city-owned KeyArena for professional basketball and the more than 100 other culture, art and civic events that take place there every year.

“We will be back in Olympia next session to hold legislative leaders to their promise to keep KeyArena as the region’s venue for cultural, entertainment, and civic events - and for NBA basketball,” Nickels said. “Words are one thing, action is another.”

Visit the mayor’s web site at Get the mayor’s inside view on efforts to promote transportation, public safety, economic opportunity and healthy communities by signing up for The Nickels Newsletter at

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