One of Wilson's most poignant memories of the late Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks owner was singing along to Frank Sinatra's "New York, New York" after the team clinched a trip to the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.
It was football that brought together two of the most famous names in Seattle history.
But in his first public comments Thursday since the death of team owner and Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson said football wasn’t necessarily what they talked about the most.
Instead, Wilson said, the conversation often turned more to music, a lifelong passion for Allen, who played guitar and oversaw the construction of the Museum of Pop Culture in downtown Seattle, which initially was built as a shrine to Jimi Hendrix and other musicians.
“The week before he passed, me and (Wilson’s wife and entertainer) Ciara were talking to him about music and how much he loved music,” Wilson said. “I think that he was a guy that experienced so much through music in life.”
Then Wilson told a story about the moments after the NFC Championship Game win over the 49ers in 2014 at CenturyLink Field when the song “New York, New York” — the Super Bowl that year was in New Jersey — began to play.
“I’ll never forget this, being onstage and we’re singing Frank Sinatra,” Wilson said. “We’re headed to New York and everything and Come Fly With Me and everything else. We’re headed to New York and everybody’s excited and everybody’s just — the confetti is flying around and everything else, and I’m singing — I can’t sing very good. So, I’m singing and everything else and Paul comes up to me and he goes, ‘you like Frank?’ I said, ‘yeah, I like Frank, I’ve always listened to it.’ I’m a huge Michael Jackson fan. Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Rat Pack, everything else.
“Sure enough, I didn’t know. I didn’t know Paul loved music that much. Sure enough the next day, I had a little note, and it had a bunch of old CDs of his that he had, just personal CDs and everything else of his that he had of the Rat Pack and Frank Sinatra. It was just a cool little gift, you know, of just thinking about music and everything else. Nothing huge, but just the kind of person that he was.”
But football was never far away.
Allen famously saved the Seahawks from leaving Seattle in 1997. It was the drafting of Wilson in 2012 that finally put the franchise over the top, the Seahawks winning their first — and so far, only — Super Bowl in the shadows of New York, New York in February 2014.
“Paul meant a lot to everyone here in this building,” Wilson said. “I don’t think this building would be the same in the sense of where we’d be right now without his commitment to Seattle, to the Seattle Seahawks, to the players. I think that he was always a guy that trusted the people that was around him and that he put in charge to really build this culture.
“Obviously, we’re definitely going to miss Paul a lot. I think that he’s been a big factor, not just for the Seattle Seahawks, but for Seattle — and really the whole world, all the things he did. He will forever be in our hearts for sure.”