Rob Oxford: What makes a legend?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Sonics great Slick Watts
Photo courtesy Slick Watts

By Rob Oxford

Whether you're a fan of the NBA (National Basketball Association) or sports in general, there's no denying that the Supersonics will always be a part of Seattle sports heritage. Responsible for providing the city its first sports title since the 1917 Seattle Metropolitans defeated the Montreal Canadiens to bring home the Stanley Cup some 100 years ago, a fan of the Supersonics in 1979 will never forget the likes of Lenny Wilkens, Jack Sikma, Gus Williams, Wally Walker or Dennis Johnson, all legendary figures of the hardwood.

But exactly what makes a legend? Is it a championship ring, a bust or plaque in a Hall of Fame somewhere? Is it a grotesque six figure contract for simply playing a "game"? I contend that what makes a legend is what people say about you 40 years after you've taken your last free throw.

Slick Watts 2017
Photo courtesy Slick Watts
That was my premise for inviting former Supersonic Slick Watts to wear his headband, tilted slightly to the right, to the Shorecrest Boys Basketball Dinner and Auction to speak to our players. Slick missed out on that championship ring by 1 year, ending his career in the NBA due to injury with the Houston Rockets and The New Orleans Jazz.

However Seattle has remained his home ever since. Choosing to establish several businesses and raise his family here.

I posted on my Facebook page that Slick had agreed to meet our team and the comments were instant and overwhelming. 
Comments like: "My parents still have their Slick Watts Christmas tree ornament from when I was little", "Do you think he'll sign my Slick Rock?", "My hero", "A great man", "I see him daily at Pro Sports Club and he’s the sweetest man in there, we all love him" and "...he’s the most loved person here, always making sure to hold the door for the ladies."... 
To this writer, that is what makes a "legend".

Never having met Mr. Watts before, I didn't want to take advantage of his kindness so when asked what was expected of him during his visit with the players, I made a point to say that "he is not required to sign autographs or take photos" with our guests. The response to which was something to the effect of "well, he's not coming if he can't do that."

Slick sat with our coaches, spoke one on one with some of our Seniors and delivered a message which focused on among other things, hard work, dedication, pursuing the dream and "putting down your cell phone and enjoying your surroundings". A message I think every parent tries to convey to their child.

It was a fabulous evening and although most of our players had to Google Slick's accomplishments to familiarize themselves with his career, their parents, the ones with the checkbooks, were overjoyed to meet this "legend". Thanks again to Slick and his Publicist Robin Hudson for making our event an evening this Sonics fan will not soon forget.

More information about Slick on his Facebook page.



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