Lonnie Shelton, a key player for the Seattle SuperSonics' championship team and NBA All-Star, dead at 62
Shelton died of complications from a heart attack
Lonnie Shelton, a former NBA player best known for his time on the Seattle SuperSonics, is dead at the age of 62 following complications from a heart attack. He had been in a coma for the last month and died on Sunday.
Shelton played for three NBA teams in his 10-year NBA career. He played for the Knicks, Sonics, and Cavaliers. Shelton won an NBA championship in the 1978-79 season with the Sonics. In the 1981-82 season he made his lone All-Star Game appearance. Shelton also played three years at Oregon State before entering the NBA.
One of the more interesting tidbits about his playing career has to do with how Shelton ended up in Seattle in the first place. Back in the day, teams used to receive compensation when another team signed one of their own free agents. via Seattle Times
"I know he really valued his time in Seattle," Marlon Shelton said Monday. "He thought really fondly of the city and the organization."
Shelton played his first two seasons in New York, but arrived in Seattle via an NBA rule that, at the time, allowed the league to award compensation to teams when another team signed one of their free agents. After New York signed center Marvin Webster, who helped lead Seattle on a surprising run to the NBA Finals in 1978 and whose loss initially appeared to be a potentially devastating blow to a rising Sonics team, the NBA awarded Shelton and the Knicks' 1979 first-round pick to Seattle as compensation. (The terms were later reversed somewhat, with Seattle giving its 1981 first-round pick back to the Knicks).
Shelton was mainly known as an enforcer, but the 6-foot-8 power forward still averaged 12 points and 6.1 rebounds for his career. He made the All-NBA defensive team in the 1981-82 season.
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