Remembering the Championship
Three years ago today, the Seattle Storm defeated the Connecticut Sun 74-60 in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the WNBA Finals at KeyArena to claim the WNBA championship. Some of the staff members who took part in that game share their lasting memories.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty
What stands out is the confetti ... and the joy at that time when the confetti was raining down, so not just literally the confetti. When it was coming down, it was almost slow-motion in my mind. I can remember the hugs, I can remember our staff hug, I can remember going to each player. There was almost a slo-mo, silent rain of confetti on this incredible celebration.
Chief Operating Officer Karen Bryant
To this day, when I try to put myself back in that front row baseline seat with Slick Watts on my arm and I try to replay the moments before and after the buzzer sounded, I experience a level of visceral reaction all over again. Watching the clock wind down, hearing the buzz among the fans grow, and anticipating the eruption at the buzzer ... what a feeling! That will always be a special day for me, one of the best, and I'm sure everyone who had the privilege of being in KeyArena that night feels the same. There is nothing in sports like winning a championship and we're all working hard to get back to that pinnacle of 2004 again.
Director of Basketball Operations Missy Bequette
I remember the excitement in the arena - the kids, all the signs. It felt like there was a calmness around our team before the game. After the game, I remember a lot of champagne went very quickly in the locker room. Our players were just crazed animals. I remember Kamila hugging Simone specifically - two originals [like Missy]. The excitement on the staff - people from the business side were just beaming. Our practice players were invited to the after party. They were off the moon they were so happy.
Director of Ticket Sales Chris Fryar
As the final buzzer sounded and the Storm was anointed 2004 WNBA champions, I made my way through the throngs of screaming Storm fans to the court. Covered in red, green, yellow and gold confetti, I basked in the electricity of the moment. Over near the Storm bench was Karen Bryant…we high-fived and embraced. Corralled halfway between the three point line and half court was Sue Bird being interviewed for the national broadcast ... I snapped a picture with my camera phone. Whizzing and weaving around the commotion of players and dignitaries on the court was Finals MVP Betty Lennox grasping the polished silver WNBA Championship trophy with her ever-contagious smile and laughter … I snapped another photo. The moment was magical and unforgettable. To this day, I still have a small handful of confetti and those two grainy camera phone pictures, along with one of myself posing with the trophy the following morning.
It was an electric atmosphere. The building was full 15 minutes prior to the game. I distinctly remember looking at my noise meter down the stretch and it measured 111 decibels, the highest point I have ever seen it reach in six years of putting on game entertainment. Following the final buzzer, I made sure to take a moment and look across the entire arena at the confetti showering down on the crowd ... truly a magical moment.
Senior Coordinator of Business Operations Kelly Nigh
I remember due to increased security at the entrances into the arena, there were long lines of fans waiting to get into the building. I was outside helping to get everyone in as quickly as possible up until about halfway through the first half after the last fan had entered the arena. The unique thing was that I entered the building through one of the entrances into the upper level, which was usually curtained for Storm games. As I walked through the upper concourse I glanced in through one of the hallways into the open building. It hit me then that there was not an open seat in the entire building. From the floor to the last row of the upper level, 17,072 fans had filled KeyArena to break a WNBA Finals attendance record. I knew right then that was going to witness something pretty special and I felt very, very lucky to be a part of the Seattle Storm.
Business Development Account Executive Amy Burdick
Game 1 of the Finals was crazy. We sold 17,000 tickets and fans were converging on the Key like never before. Security was tight, and prevented everyone from entering quickly. The lines were out to the street. Staff members were doing everything possible to get folks in the building. I was escorting anxious season ticket holders "under the radar" through the suite entrance so they wouldn't miss anything. Finally, we managed to get everyone in and I was able to make my way into the bowl. I'll never forget the energy I felt when I walked into the 100 level. EVERYONE was in their seats - all the way up to the top of the 200 level! They were ready to do their part in contributing Storm to a win. The first time 17,000 fans viewed a Storm game was underway. The first WNBA finals game at KeyArena would result in a Storm win.
The next game was October 12. Whoever wins takes home the trophy. The Storm won - the first championship in Seattle in 25 years ... the confetti rained on us. I saved a few pieces - still have to this day attached to my 2004 credential! A special moment - one I'll never forget.
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty
I have worked for this organization for over 20 years and I have never heard the Key Arena as loud as it was at the end of the game. The energy that over 17,000 Storm fans brought to the arena was incredible. Winning the championship was special but the fans are what made it a night I will never forget.
Market Research Manager Jason Hanson
October 12, 2004 not only marked my 29th birthday but, more importantly, became a truly unforgettable night as the Storm was crowned WNBA champions. At no other sporting event had I experienced the din of noise and distortion funneling through KeyArena. The shrieking, frenzied percussion of sound that permeated the building is something I’ll never forget. I’ll always remember the noise.
storm.wnba.com Beat Writer Kevin Pelton
The night before Game 3, I was so excited I could not sleep. I started writing what became my story celebrating the Storm - thank goodness that didn't prove to be a jinx. After the game, I was running around like crazy trying to connect to the Internet and came across the team posing for photos underneath the stands. The joy on the faces of each player and coach was unforgettable. It was tough to have to work while also trying to take everything in, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.
Entertainment Coordinator Michael Ferguson
I remember how loud the crowd got at towards the end once everyone knew we were going to win ... I remember lots and lots of confetti. Other than that it was a blur ... I was busy getting ready for all the postgame media hoopla that I was tasked with.