RENTON, Wash. -- Quarterback Russell Wilson announced Monday that he is joining an ownership group led by investor Chris Hansen that is working on building an NBA/NHL arena in Seattle's SODO neighborhood.
The group's aim is to bring the Sonics back to Seattle.
Wilson wrote in The Players' Tribune that he became a fan of the Sonics by playing as the team in the video game NBA Jam.
"I became a SuperSonics fan by playing NBA Jam and watching them on SportsCenter and NBA Inside Stuff," he wrote. "I loved their name. I loved their colors. I loved [Shawn] Kemp and [Gary] Payton, and then in later years, I loved watching Ray Allen swish corner threes with that perfect form.
"Even though we lived in Virginia, I got a Sonics jersey one Christmas and I used to put it on and go play hoops out in front of the house, pretending I was Gary Payton."
Wilson also released a statement to The Associated Press.
"I'm blessed and excited to partner with Chris, Wally [Walker], Pete [Nordstrom] and Erik [Nordstrom] and the greatest fans in all of sports to bring the SODO arena to our beloved city," Wilson said. "There is no place like the Emerald City. The positive impact sports has on our kids and many generations to come and bringing different cultures and people together is what motivates and inspires me."
Hansen and his investment group announced last month that they would pay for the arena with private funds.
"We couldn't be more thrilled that Russell is joining our partnership and continued efforts to bring the NBA and NHL back to Seattle," Hansen said in a statement to the AP.
"As you are all aware, we have always kept our focus on doing this for the right reasons -- our love for our city, our love of basketball and our belief that pro sports has the ability to positively influence our youth and bring communities together in a way very few things in this world can. It is with this shared view that we welcome Russell, a young, smart and passionate entrepreneur, as our business partner. We know that his enthusiasm, positivity and 'never give up' attitude will make a huge difference in our effort."
The Sonics left Seattle for Oklahoma City before the 2008-09 season.
"It's crazy to me that kids growing up in Seattle now turn on NBA 2K and they can't even play as the Sonics. It doesn't seem right that they're gone," Wilson wrote in The Players' Tribune. "They were a part of my childhood, and I grew up 2,840 miles away.
"The NBA needs that green and gold back. Seattle needs basketball back. And hockey, too. (The Seattle Metropolitans won the Stanley Cup in 1917, in case you didn't know.)"
Pete Carroll was asked Monday about Wilson's involvement.
"He loves his community, and I think he's interested in being a part of something that's really special here," Carroll said. "We all are aware of how dear it is in the hearts of the people around here, and Russell would love to be a part of something like that. I don't know any of the details. I don't know who it's with or anything like that, but sounds like fun."