The Seattle Post-Intelligencer today waxes nostalgic about the 30th anniversary of the Seattle SuperSonics winning the NBA championship — the only big-league title ever won by a Seattle team. (No, I don't count the Stanley Cup of 1917.)
Not being a basketball fan, and then being a relatively recent transplant, I wasn't all that into the Sonics. But I do recall that weekend in Seattle vividly because I had just moved here for the summer — to take some classes at the University of Washington, to get a taste of a big university and Seattle before finishing up the following fall at Whitman College in Walla Walla.
I lived that summer of 1979 in the basement of a house on Brooklyn Avenue Northeast, which a friend shared with other UW students. Except for a seminal course on media law taught by Don Pember, it was an unremarkable quarter academically, which was in no small way due to the fact that I was myself academically unremarkable. Had a blast living in Seattle, though, and I vowed to return. Which I did, for good, six years later, to work for The Seattle Times, a paper I first got acquainted with that summer long ago.
But I digress. The real reason I'm blogging this is to point out a very interesting component of the P-I's story today about the old Sonics. It links to a PDF of the June 3, 1979, edition of the P-I, and on that front page are examples of how things crazily change and stay the same over time:
The top story was written by one Timothy Egan, who is possibly the best-writing journalist Seattle has ever produced. Egan resides here to this day but now writes a blog for The New York Times. His lede of 1979:
A champagne-filled jetliner carrying the best basketball team in the world dropped out of the clear blue Seattle sky yesterday afternoon and landed to the cheers of about 30,000 fans on hand for the greeting.
This was a Sunday edition of the P-I, and nowhere to be found on the page is mention of The Seattle Times, which starting in 1983 and until this year was the dominant brand in a joint operating agreement that gave it sole ownership of the print edition on Sundays. Now the P-I again stands alone, but online only. (By the way, the newsstand price of the Sunday P-I in 1979 was 50 cents.)
The front page includes the "Editor's Report" column of William Randolph Hearst Jr., which in some respects resembles a blog. OK, a really bad blog. It's about an energy crisis.
The Washington Legislature had just adjourned, and Mike Layton reported that the biennium operating budget that was finally passed with Democratic votes was $8 billion. Republicans, of course, called it bloated.
The state House was deadlocked that year with 49 members from each party, and there were two speakers: Democrat John Bagnariol and Republican Duane Berentson. (The next year, 1980, Bagnoriol was indicted in "Gamscam.")
Top-of-the-page teasers (hyperlinks obviously mine):
"TV WEEK: Ed McMahon. The P-I's new, compact TV magazine looks into the future of a second banana."
"SPECIAL—INSIDE: Sonics iron-on. 'Bulletproof.' Send a message to Washington, D.C., while adding a little art to your wardrobe."