From the Seahawks to the Huskies, the Mariners to the SuperSonics, Seattle sports teams have certainly made a name for themselves.
Fans have long cheered on Seattle sports teams as they compete on the national stage. And the city has hosted some of the greatest sports legends of all time.
In this guide, we’ll break down the most important players in Seattle sports history.
Ken Griffey, Jr. may be the reason that the Mariners still exist.
The Seattle Mariners were a no-name team in the 1980’s, and baseball fans in the city took a backseat to football, basketball, and college sports fans. That all started to change when Griffey was drafted by the Mariners in the late 1980’s.
The presence of a sports legend immediately boosted the Seattle Mariners onto the national stage, and invigorated local fans. He was the first true national figure or “household name” who played for the Mariners, and his impressive performance throughout his 10-year stint on the M’s helped propelled them into MLB glory.
Megan Rapinoe helped boost the popularity of women’s soccer — not only in Seattle, but on the world stage.
She has played on the Seattle Reign FC since 2013, but is famously known as the fiery face of the US Women’s National Team. She has represented the United States at multiple World Cups and Olympic Games.
Rapinoe is also known as a community activist and gay-rights activist. She has been integral to the fight for equal pay in sports, and is a prominent LGBTQ+ advocate.
Russell Wilson propelled the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl win, and helped the team overcome many challenges to have a very successful decade in the NFL. Wilson also represented Seattle in the Pro Bowl multiple times.
The Seahawks recently agreed to trade Wilson to the Denver Broncos, leaving many Seahawks fans frustrated.
Lenny Wilkins helped legitimize the fledgling SuperSonics franchise, in a time where Seattle sports were not what they are now. His MVP award at the 1971 All-Star Game further boosted the Sonics on the national stage. Wilkins then went on to coach the SuperSonics through many successful seasons, paving the way for their 1979 NBA Title.
The Seattle Storm proved that women’s basketball could be a hit in Seattle — and Sue Bird was integral to making that happen. After a decidedly rough start for the franchise, Bird was the #1 draft pick in 2002, and quickly propelled the Storm onto the national stage. She helped the Storm earn its first WNBA title in 2004.
Ichiro Suzuki helped revive the Mariners from the loss of two key players: Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1999, and Alex Rodriguez in 2000. Ichiro, who joined the M’s in 2001, brought with him his signature style of stolen bases and quick hits, which boosted attendance numbers and gave Mariners fans something to get excited about.
Clint Dempsey joined the Sounders in 2013 as one of the biggest stars in the MLS. In fact, the Sounders’ $32-million, 4-year deal with Dempsey was among the league’s largest. Dempsey’s dominant performance has helped the Sounders become one of the most popular teams in Major League Soccer, attracting record-breaking crowds each game.
One of the best ways to celebrate and commemorate Seattle sports legends like the 7 listed above is to collect their trading cards.
Did you know that Bellevue Rare Coins buys and sells sports cards in the Seattle area? With five convenient locations (West Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Tacoma, and Lynnwood), you’re never far from a Bellevue Rare Coins location.
If you’re looking to clear out an old collection, we also buy sports cards for top dollar. Read our complete guide on how to sell trading cards in Seattle for more information.