Some people say he’s a traitor. Others accuse him of costing Joe Wolfinger a shot at the NBA. Others still claim his political views are weak sauce.
Does all that really matter?
Answer: No. Because when you really get down to it, the only mistake Hawes made is sacrificing three years of unlimited college booty for a professional career.
Let’s face facts. Spencer Hawes is a good guy. This is a man who, as a member of the Sacramento Kings, once wore Sonics gear into the Ford Center in Oklahoma City. That takes balls.
This is a dude who appeared at every rally to save the Sonics he was capable of attending. All while being paid by a rival franchise. Impressive.
This a guy who freely sports old school Mariners’ gear, even in parts of the country where teal blue may not be so widely accepted.
Spencer Hawes is the type of native son who still returns to Seattle every offseason, shows his face at local sporting events, and does everything he possibly can to support the Emerald City. Seriously.
In fact, I’d wager there are few former Huskies who are as passionate about the University of Washington as Hawes is. He still attends games. He still sits courtside. He still rocks the colors.
Perhaps Hawes’ only transgression is that he left the UW after just one year on campus. Worse yet, in his one collegiate season the Huskies failed to make the postseason. Because of that, fans tend to give him the cold shoulder from time to time.
But were we really shocked when Hawes departed? I know I wasn’t. That was the plan all along. Play the requisite amateur season and move on to bigger and better things. Hell, if it wasn’t for David Stern’s paunchy little meddling ass, we likely wouldn’t have had one second of Spencer Hawes to enjoy. Because if Robert Swift can go lottery out of high school, I’d imagine Hawes could too.
As it is, Hawes became the 10th overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft. So it’s not like he made some grave mistake by bolting early. He’s no Leon Wood or Anderson Hunt. In his three pro seasons, he’s turned himself into a reliable starting center who still possesses tremendous upside. And on top of that he has yet to reach his 22nd birthday. Time is on his side.
I don’t know, sports fans, it just seems to me that Hawes gets a raw deal from the Seattle faithful. Sure, there are some of you out there who care for the guy. But too often we hear from those of you who want to put the man down, call him names, or accuse him of being a Benedict Arnold.
No, he’s not a four-year player.
No, he’ll never be a Husky legend.
No, he doesn’t even play for a local ballclub anymore.
But Spencer Hawes embodies the city of Seattle unlike many of his constituents. That goes a long way in solidifying his reputation as one of my favorite local athletes of the current era.
So what if he leans to the right? (Politically speaking, of course. He’s no Blood.)
So what if he never made the postseason at Washington? (And for the record, we would have been much worse without him, Dawg fans.)
So what if he’s a Sacramento King?
No matter where he goes or where he ends up, Spencer Hawes will still be representing the city of Seattle until the day he dies. And in the end, that is all that really matters.