NBA returning to Seattle with preseason ‘Rain City Showcase’

Jun 25, 2023, 6:02 AM | Updated: 8:51 am

seattle nba preseason...

Josh Hart #11 of the Portland Trail Blazers drives to the basket against Reggie Jackson #1 of the Los Angeles Clippers during the first half of the preseason game at Climate Pledge Arena on October 03, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. The Los Angeles Clippers won 102-97. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Seattle will host the NBA once more for a preseason game Tuesday, Oct. 10 at 7 p.m. when the Los Angeles Clippers and the Utah Jazz square off in the Rain City Showcase at Climate Pledge Arena.

This decision, announced on the day of the 2023 NBA Draft, came after the success of last year’s inaugural exhibition between the Clippers — owned by Steve Ballmer, the Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft from 2000 to 2014 — and the Portland Trail Blazers drew a sellout crowd.

Seattle native Paolo Banchero goes No. 1 in NBA Draft to Magic

“I am so excited to have a game in my hometown of Seattle, Washington,” Ballmer exclaimed to a crowd of cheers ahead of last year’s Rain City Showcase. “I am so excited to see Climate Pledge Arena, this fantastic building, light up tonight.”

In 2008, Ballmer was part of an investment group that committed $150 million for the $300 million renovation project of KeyArena, the former home of the Seattle Sonics. After trying to buy the Sonics with intentions to keep the franchise in Seattle, Ballmer attempted to buy the Sacramento Kings in 2012 with plans to relocate them to the Emerald City for a proposed $650 million. That plan eventually fell through, and two years later, Ballmer purchased the L.A. Clippers.

The Utah Jazz are owned by Ryan Smith, who also has ties to the Puget Sound region. The American billionaire businessman is the executive chairman and co-founder of Qualtrics, an experience management company with headquarters located in Seattle in addition to its Utah roots.

“We are delighted to bring back Rain City Showcase to Climate Pledge Arena,” Climate Pledge Arena General Manager Steve Mattson said in a press release. “Seattle is a world-class sports town, and fans continue to be hungry for NBA basketball.”

In addition to last year’s preseason showcase, NBA superstars LeBron James and Jason Tatum were accompanied by Dejounte Murray, Aaron Gordon, Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and more competed in Jamal Crawford’s CrawsOver Pro-Am League last August, held at Seattle Pacific University. Murray and Banchero are both Seattle natives who played high school basketball in the area — Rainier Beach High School and O’Dea High School respectively — while Holmgren played his one season of college basketball with the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Fans flock Seattle Pacific University to catch LeBron, Tatum, and more at Saturday’s CrawsOver event

All of these events teasing the palates of basketball fans in Washington are potentially leading to a reunion between the NBA and the Sonics.

“With everything going so well, do you see in the near future more expansion teams? Like you hear Seattle, you hear Las Vegas. Is that a possibility?” NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal asked the league’s commissioner Adam Silver during an interview before the NBA Finals earlier this month.

“It is a possibility,” Silver replied, stating the league first needs to finalize a collective bargaining deal with the players — agreed to in April and set to be installed July 1 — and work toward its media rights package before looking at potential expansion cities.

“It’s exciting that it’s on the forefront,” Mike Lefko of Seattle Sports Radio said. “They certainly designed Climate Pledge with the NBA in mind.”

Could Seattle Sonics 2.0 be on the horizon?

Tickets for the fall game go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday.

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NBA returning to Seattle with preseason ‘Rain City Showcase’