He’s on fire: Russell Wilson’s love of the Sonics began with NBA Jam

Nov 15, 2016, 8:44 AM | Updated: 9:13 am
Russell Wilson...
Seahawks QB Russell Wilson's press conference signoffs have transformed from "Go Hawks" since signing on as an investor for a new SoDo arena. (Brady Henderson)
(Brady Henderson)

Russell Wilson’s love of the Seattle SuperSonics can be traced back to the hit video game series “NBA Jam.”

The day after news broke that the Seahawks quarterback partnered with the Sonics Arena Group, Wilson posted on The Players’ Tribune about his fond memories of playing the video game with his brother.

Related: Russell Wilson partners with SoDo arena group

I know some people probably picture me throwing footballs through tire swings and running stairs all day,” Wilson wrote. “And I definitely did all that. But then I’d come home at night and play video games with Harry for hours. NBA Jam was our thing.

For those unfamiliar with the game, “NBA Jam” features two-on-two basketball with (former) star players from the NBA and an announcer that yelled things such as “Boomshakalaka!” and “He’s on fire!”

Wilson would typically select Seattle’s Shawn Kemp and Detlef Schrempf combo.

I became a SuperSonics fan by playing NBA Jam and watching them on SportsCenter and NBA Inside Stuff. I loved their name. I loved their colors…

He became a fan, even though he lived in Virginia.

That’s how a lot of kids learn to dream. Whether it’s through video games or getting a replica jersey … there’s nothing like the feeling of pretending to be your hero.

Already arguably a hero to many, Wilson has the opportunity to do even more by partnering with the arena group that’s led by billionaire hedge fund manager Chris Hansen.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled that Russell is joining our partnership and continued efforts to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle,” Hansen said in the statement. “As you are all aware, we have always kept our focus on doing this for the right reasons – Our love for our City, our love of basketball, and our belief that pro-sports has the ability to positively influence our youth and bring communities together in a way very few things in this world can. It is with this shared view that we welcome Russell, a young, smart and passionate entrepreneur, as our business partner. We know that his enthusiasm, positivity, and ‘never give up’ attitude will make a huge difference in our effort.”

A person familiar with the agreement told KIRO Radio’s Michael Lewis that Wilson independently approached the Seattle Arena partnership, making it a five-member team. Wilson is a financial investor – not just a PR figurehead – in the partnership, though the source would not disclose the terms. Wilson is expected to talk more about the partnership at his usual Thursday media session at Seahawks headquarters.

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He’s on fire: Russell Wilson’s love of the Sonics began with NBA Jam