Thursday, June 22, 2017 This Week's Paper

SuperSonics fan aims to change state song

Kris Brannon is a man on a mission ­– to make a rap song our state’s anthem and build momentum for bringing men’s pro basketball back to Puget Sound.

The Tacoma resident filed an initiative in March with the Secretary of State’s Office to change the state song from “Washington My Home” to “Not In Our House.” Written by local rap star Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Not In Our House” was recorded as a fight song for the Seattle SuperSonics during their 1993 playoff run. Brannon’s proposal would allow the state song to revert back to “Washington My Home” if Seattle gets a new NBA franchise after the team plays its first home game.

Brannon has become quite visible in the past few years, often appearing at public events decked out in green and yellow Sonics attire.

He became a fan of the team as a young kid. He has fond memories of the 1978-79 season, when the Sonics won the league championship by defeating the Washington Bullets in the NBA Finals. He listened to games on the radio called by the late Bob Blackburn and drew pictures of the team in his youth.

“This is all about visibility, to let people know we used to have a team,” Brannon said on June 18 while gathering signatures at Proctor Farmers Market.

Brannon has long been a fan of Sir Mix-A-Lot, who emerged from Seattle in the 1980s and remains the biggest rap artist from this region. Brannon has not tried to contact the rapper yet, but assumes he is aware of his initiative by now. “He has probably heard about it.”

Brannon has been gathering signatures at several farmers markets and events such as Sound to Narrows and Desmond Tutu’s speech at Tacoma Dome. He has also taken his petitions to Seattle and Olympia. He has left them at several businesses, including Amocat Café and Boxtop Vintage Clothing. He has several other people collecting signatures in other Washington cities.

Brannon hopes his efforts will build momentum to get the NBA to put a team in the Seattle area. The departure of the Sonics to Oklahoma City was a bitter pill for him to swallow and he hopes what he is doing can spur the Legislature to take action on a funding package to pay for a new arena for a future team.

Brannon splits the blame for the loss of the team on two individuals. The first is Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO and former team owner who sold the Sonics to Clay Bennett, who moved the team to his hometown in Oklahoma.

“That is why I boycott Starbucks,” he said. “He bucked his civic responsibility by not selling the team to a local owner.”

The other is Greg Nickels, who was mayor of Seattle at the time. Nickels signed an agreement that allowed the team to leave while it still had two years left on its lease at Key Arena.

Brannon must turn in the petitions for his Initiative 1158 by July 8.

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