Lenny Wilkens holds up the NBA title trophy during the parade celebrating the SuperSonics 1979 world championship. (AP file)

Former Sonics great Wally Walker remembers Seattle's last big parade

It's been 35 years since fans lined the streets of downtown Seattle to honor the NBA champion SuperSonics. And all these years later, the memory remains strong for former Sonic Wally Walker.

"I wish I had a small bit of change for every person that's come up to me in 35 years, and a fair amount recently, to say 'I was there in 1979, I'll never forget it, I brought my friend or my grandfather or grandson and we'll never forget that memory together.'"

Walker says the team had no idea how big the parade would be.

"We gathered at the Kingdome, and it was quiet. We didn't know what to expect. We knew there'd be some folks out, and then we turned the corner and came up 4th Avenue and it just builds and builds," he recalls.

An estimated 300,000 people jammed the streets for the celebration. Walker remembers being overwhelmed by the outpouring of affection from the fans, and how close they got to the players as they rode in convertibles on the sunny late Spring day. The longtime player and NBA executive only wishes he'd cherished it more.

"We didn't fully appreciate the fact that would be the first and only one for a very long time," he says. "I think people are rightfully optimistic about the future of the Seahawks because they've done a great job in putting together the team but it's so fragile and you just don't know what's going to happen. So yeah, let's celebrate this one."

Walker is disappointed he won't be able to attend the Seahawks parade because he's traveling on business. But he says his wife and three kids wouldn't miss it for the world.

"There's nothing like a team championship to bring together a community and from all the diverse populations. It's just a great celebration."

Josh Kerns,
Josh Kerns is an award winning reporter/anchor and host of KIRO Radio's Seattle Sounds (Sunday afternoons 5-6p) and a digital content producer for
Top Stories

  • Trial Beginning
    Twelve Seattle police officers will begin using new body-worn cameras next week

  • Week in Photos
    Penguins, cheetahs and Santa make it in this week's photos
ATTENTION COMMENTERS: We've changed our comments, but want to keep you in the conversation.
Please login below with your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Disqus account. Existing MyNorthwest account holders will need to create a new Disqus account or use one of the social logins provided below. Thank you.
comments powered by Disqus
Sign up for breaking news e-mail alerts from
In the community
Do you know an exceptional citizen who has impacted and inspired others?
KIRO Radio and WSECU would like to recognize six oustanding citizens this year. Nominate them to be recognized and to receive a $2,000 charitable grant.