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Sonics legend Jack Sikma 'won the night' at National Basketball Hall of Fame induction

Elise Amendola
AP Photo
Inductee Jack Sikma, right, stands with presenter Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at the Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, in Springfield, Mass.

Sonics legend Jack Sikma is now a Hall of Famer. He was inducted into Naismith Memorial National Basketball Hall of Fame over the weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts. KNKX sports commentator, and Sportspress Northwest co-founder, Art Thiel was there and he talked with Morning Edition host Kirsten Kendrick.

Thiel said Sikma is an unusual character in Seattle sports history.

"He was drafted eighth in the first round of the 1977 NBA draft, but he had the talent of some of the best players to ever play the game," he said.

Sikma helped the Seattle Supersonics get to the NBA finals in 1978, where they lost to the Washington Bullets. And he was part of the championship team when the Sonics beat the Bullets for the title the following year.

Sikma's 14-year career also included seven All-Star Game appearances. Thiel noted it took 28 years from his retirement in 1991 to get into the Hall of Fame.

"It was one of the most remarkable careers we've seen in Seattle and finally the nation recognizes that, however belatedly, Jack Sikma was a heck of a basketball player."

Sikma asked former rival and fellow legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be one of his presenters this weekend.

"They warred magnificently together in the low post," Thiel said. "It was quite a rivalry and Kareem said he was honored to be one of Jack's presenters."

He also noted that more than 100 fans made the trip to Springfield.

"They were the loudest, the rowdiest, most fun-loving group. Every time Jack's name got mentioned in the ceremony, it illicited howls and whistles and yelps," Thiel said.

"Clearly Jack not only won the award he won the night."

Kirsten Kendrick hosts Morning Edition on KNKX and the sports interview series "Going Deep," talking with folks tied to sports in our region about what drives them — as professionals and people.