Basketball / NBA

Jack Sikma, Vlade Divac lead Basketball Hall of Fame class


Jack Sikma used his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech to make a plea for the NBA to return to Seattle, where he led the SuperSonics to the 1979 NBA title.

It was the only title for the franchise that moved to Oklahoma City in 2008.

“There’s a hole in Seattle that needs to be filled,” Sikma said to a crowd that included NBA commissioner Adam Silver and many other league executives. “Speaking for all Sonics fans, it’s our greatest hope that the NBA will soon find a pathway to bring basketball back to Seattle.

“It’s time.”

Sikma was joined in the Class of 2019 on Friday night by Vlade Divac, Sidney Moncrief, Paul Westphal, Bobby Jones, Al Attles and Teresa Weatherspoon. Chuck Cooper and Carl Braun were inducted posthumously, and Bill Fitch was unable to attend for health reasons.

Sikma had a large contingent to support him, and they broke into laughter when the video screens showed a picture of him with a blond bowl cut shortly after he was drafted in 1977. A seven-time All-Star in nine seasons with the Sonics, he also played five years with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Divac, who won an Olympic silver medal with Yugoslavia and another with Serbia after the country broke apart in a civil war, was one of the NBA’s first European stars. Among those he thanked were his former Yugoslav teammate Toni Kukoc, who is Croatian.

“The people of the Balkans are like a dysfunctional family. We may fight and argue, but in the end we are family,” said Divac, who played eight years with the Los Angeles Lakers and six with the Sacramento Kings. “To me basketball was always about love.”