Kris Bannon says he came home Monday to find his house ransacked and items missing — and the burglar escaping out the back.
TACOMA — The “Sonics Guy” counts on his fingers the number of interviews he had done so far on Monday. “Let’s see, you’re the seventh.”
Waiting outside his home in Central Tacoma is a TV guy, ready for the eighth interview.
Yes, Kris Brannon acknowledges, it’s more than a little ironic that the most publicity he’s gotten for his quest to bring back the basketball team is when he called 911 around 8:30 a.m. on Monday to report a guy burglarizing his home, and managing to run away.
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Brannon says he figures gone are four rings with the Sonics logo and maybe 50 or 60 other sports-memorabilia items, including not only Sonics jerseys and caps but some from other teams, too. Tacoma police say they are waiting for Brannon to itemize the stuff he reported stolen. The cops say they brought in a K-9 unit Monday morning but the burglar’s scent was lost.
“I feel shocked, I feel violated,” says Brannon.
He figures the memorabilia was worth maybe a couple of thousand dollars, plus there was a few hundred dollars he had in the house to pay bills.
It’s his late dad’s ring that was in the box with the Sonics rings that matters the most to him.
“It was a gold ring with a big diamond in it,” says Brannon. “He always told me, ‘When I go, you’ll have it.’ ”
Brannon says his dad, William T. Brannon, died in his arms of cardiac arrest 12 years ago, at age 74. So the ring carries a lot of sentiment, just like the stolen Sonics jersey autographed by Lenny Wilkens, the Sonics player and coach.
Brannon had spent the weekend in Seattle for the Seattle International Film Festival premiere of the seven-minute documentary about him, “Superfan.”
Brannon became known as the “Sonics Guy” in 2008 after the Seattle SuperSonics left for Oklahoma and broke the region’s heart. He otherwise makes his living as a stand-up comic and nightclub manager.
“I went to farmers markets, political rallies — any meeting — advocating to bring back the Sonics, usually with a sign, ‘Save our Sonics,’ ” says Brannon.
He was hard to miss, with his Afro and enthusiasm and in his 3X Sonics warm-ups.
Brannon says that when he arrived home Monday — he inherited his grandparents’ house — he knew something was wrong. The front-door deadbolt was closed from the inside.
“I came around the driveway of the house and saw coat hangers, a discarded sweatshirt and a bike. I called 911. I knew somebody was inside,” says Brannon.
“Then I see somebody coming out of the front. I almost started to tangle with him. I say, ‘Hey, what the —-!’ I started arguing with him. I can’t remember what I said, I was so enraged. He closed the door and then he bailed out the back.”
After the cops arrived, Brannon was outside his house and he did what people do these days when a major event happens in their lives.
“I posted about it on Facebook from my iPhone,” says Brannon.
With 1,322 followers, his posting soon made the news.
Among the people reaching out to the Sonics Guy is the head of the Lenny Wilkens Foundation here. She read our story about how among the burglarized items was a Sonics jersey signed by Wilkens.
Brigid Graham says neither she nor Wilkens have one of the original Sonics jerseys, as the item now is so rare. But she said Wilkens could meet with Brannon and give him a signed basketball.
“I’m overwhelmed. I’m humbled,” says Brannon.
A friend of Brannon’s even started a GoFundMe account that by 10 a.m. Tuesday had $6,408 in pledges, when only $1,000 was asked.
So that’s a nice ending.
“That’s nice there is good people in the world,” says Brannon. ‘I appreciate the support and friendship. I’m still reeling. Somebody just stopped me on the street and gave me some encouragement. I just, you know, I want my dad’s ring back. I feel I let him down.”