Most Influential, Sports: Brian Robinson
He's been fighting to bring the NBA back to Seattle for 15 years. His work may soon finally pay off.
By Rob Smith February 13, 2023
Brian Robinson is one of Seattle’s 25 most influential people reshaping our region. #mostinfluential
Brian Robinson never wore a Sonics uniform. Former Sonics announcer Kevin Calabro never used his signature phrase “Good golly, Miss Molly” to describe Robinson’s crossover dribble, arcing jump shot or spin move.
Yet you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in Seattle more connected to the effort to bring the SuperSonics back to the city as rumors once again circulate that the NBA is close to making an announcement.
Robinson earns his money as a real estate executive. His real passion is the Seattle SuperSonics, which fled Seattle in 2008 for the dusty environs of Oklahoma City. He was cofounder of Save Our Sonics, the grassroots movement that unsuccessfully attempted to bring public support for a new arena that would have prevented the relocation. At its peak, the group had 13,000 members.
He was also associate producer of the Seattle SuperSonics Historical Preservation Society, a group formed in 2009 to produce “Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team,” a Webby Award-winning documentary film that exposed the nefarious doings that led to the demise of the Sonics. He also formed ArenaSolution.org, which advocated a world-class arena in Seattle — an effort that eventually ended with the building of Climate Pledge Arena.
More recently, Robinson has served as executive producer of the Iconic Sonics Podcast, an effort by Truth + Media to celebrate the history of the club. The podcast, hosted by longtime radio personality Mike Gastineau, features former Coach George Karl and past Sonics greats including Jack Sikma, Detlef Schrempf and Spencer Haywood.
Robinson’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. His connections span business leaders, politicians and professional athletes. He talks excitedly about a potential announcement of the NBA’s return to Seattle, which he anticipates will come sometime this year, perhaps as early as next month.
“I never lost hope because I always knew that our city was gravitational,” he says. “If you look at the period since the team left, there’s just been so much growth, and in terms of city influence, it’s felt like it’s an inevitability that our city is just going to demand it.”
After 15 long years, let’s hope he’s right.