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Next up on the Seattle Growth Podcast: What if the Sonics come back?

The host of the Seattle Growth Podcast wants to convince you to care about efforts to bring the Sonics NBA team back to Seattle. (Not sure what we’re talking about? Here’s a nice catch up from Nick Lee of Emerald City Swagger).

So Jeff Shulman, who is also a professor of marketing at the University of Washington, is spending the entire second season of his podcast focused on this question: How would a return of the Sonics transform this growing city for basketball fans and non-basketball fans alike?

The first episode is out today. In it, and over the course of the season, Jeff will be talking with former Sonics players, owners, team executives and city leaders about the Sonics’ possible return.

“Yes, there is considerable enthusiasm for bringing them back,” he wrote us. “But their return requires addressing some tough questions. Will your tax dollars go toward subsidizing an NBA-ready arena? Where would an arena go? How would an arena affect the surrounding real estate, jobs, traffic, and other aspects of life in the city? How can the positive effects of an NBA franchise be maximized?”

Jeff started the Seattle Growth Podcast “in hopes of building a productive dialog among Seattle’s community members,” he wrote in GeekWire last year.

So what was the most surprising thing he learned from the first season?

“Conversations around growth appear so polarized that I was surprised to see how many people are in the middle,” he told us. “There are indeed anti-growth and pro-growth viewpoints, but most people I talked to are still trying to figure it all out. There are serious challenges created by the amount of money and people moving into the city, but I am hopeful that the people of Seattle can rise together to build a mutually beneficial future.”
We asked Jeff what his advice is to people who are anxious about the growth happening in Seattle.

“Get involved,” he said. “Think about what you’d like to see to happen to maximize the benefits of growth and think about the challenges you’d like to overcome. Then, have your voice be heard by city leaders. There are complex problems and simply obstructing growth will have unintended consequences. You will be more effective if you speak out in favor of solutions you would like to see that can build a brighter future for you and your neighbors. We all must play a part in building the city we want for ourselves and our children.”

Check out the first episode of his second season here.

By Anika Anand
Anika Anand is a cofounder of The Evergrey. She previously worked at The Seattle Times Education Lab and Chalkbeat.