Those of us of a certain age remember well the Seattle SuperSonics NBA championship in 1979. While the Sonics left Seattle in 2009 for Oklahoma, the championship reigns as one our favorite memories.
Part of those golden memories include second year All-Star center Jack Sikma, whom the Sonics drafted in the first round with the eighth overall pick of the 1977 NBA draft. In 1979, he was part of the Sonics' championship roster, delighting with his trademark reverse pivot and step back behind-the-head jumper move. During Jack's 14-year career, he reached the playoffs 11 times and established himself as an accurate-shooting center. He finished his playing career with the Milwaukee Bucks, and last year was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Following his pro career Jack served as a NBA consultant, scout and assistant coach to several teams, and has continued to make his home in Bellevue with his wife Shawn, where they raised their family.
"Shawn and I decided the Northwest was where we wanted to be after my time with Milwaukee," Jack said. "We've been in west Bellevue for 30 years now, and have probably built, remodeled or sold 10 or more homes during that time."
This passion for real estate resulted in Shawn getting her broker's license in 2014 and joining the Coldwell Banker Bain of Bellevue office. "We just enjoyed the process of home building and improvement, and then selling and starting the process over again," said Shawn. "Coldwell Banker Bain was my choice as we had always been represented by them for our personal real estate transactions, and were confident in the team and support."
And now Jack has joined the CB Bain team as well. Saying he's "Shawn's assistant," Jack studied for his broker's license online last year and with his degree in accounting from Illinois Wesleyan University, has proven to be a whiz at the numbers side of the practice, said Shawn.
"He has really shown an aptitude for contract and title work, as well as with negotiations – I call him a 'human calculator' " she said. His skills in negotiating during transactions most likely comes from his competitiveness, greatly benefiting their clients, she added.
Jack sees his coaching work as having a positive impact on his work, giving him the ability to analyze the value and fit of clients with particular properties, and recognize the emotional component of a deal, in order to help clients stay steady and composed, and not overplay their hands.
"It really is fulfilling to help people find their dream homes," he said. "I've been pleasantly surprised with CB Bain's support – it really is a team effort in our office, and all the brokers are genuinely happy for each other's success. So in a sense, I continue to play on a great team."
On the other side of the lake, a more recent NBA player, Solomon Alabi, who was with the Toronto Raptors for the 2010-2012 seasons, has become a new real estate broker in the Coldwell Banker Bain of Lake Union office.
Solomon grew up in Zaria, Nigeria before moving to the United States. Through basketball, he had the opportunity to attend high school at Montverde Academy. Solomon was an all-state performer and helped lead Montverde Academy to a perfect 30–0 record during his senior season. He started for the Nigerian Junior National Team at the 2007 Nike All-American camp and helped Nigeria qualify for the 2007 FIBA Under-19 World Championship. Solomon was then selected for the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit, representing the World Select Team, where he led all players in blocked shots. Subsequently Solomon was recruited to Florida State University. At FSU Solomon helped lead the team to the two NCAA tournaments and achieved multiple ACC player recognition awards.
In 2015, Solomon and his family moved to Seattle for his wife's job and fell in love with the area. Having recently retired from a professional career overseas, that led him to Greece, Taiwan, Philippines and Japan, he began thinking about his next career. While spending his time volunteering to lead basketball summer camps along with a network of other local former pro athletes, he was considering other options. Among the ideas were coaching, but he wanted something different.
A member at the Washington Athletic Club (WAC), where he plays basketball and pickleball, Solomon met a real estate broker who became a good friend and mentor, and helped the family find and purchase their first home in Shoreline.
The home buying process was interesting, to say the least, given Solomon's height of 7'1" and the lack of homes that provided adequate room for him to move around in comfortably, especially in the bathroom.
"It became very personal for me," Solomon recalls. "Not only the height issues that were a challenge, but also how it felt to be able to actually purchase a home and the safety and security it represented. Coming from nothing in my childhood made this was a very big event."
Following tours of upwards of 10 homes to find one where he could stand up straight in the shower, and not have to circumnavigate low ceilings and pillars, the family found the perfect home. The experience motivated him toward real estate.
The process, and what he observed of his friend and broker's work to find them one, was something that resonated strongly with Solomon. It occurred to him that he might enjoy this kind of work, and that it could leverage the skills he had picked up in his sports career.
John Deely, the office's principal managing broker, says Solomon is exactly the type of person who will find success. "Solomon is very personable, enjoys his family, is enthusiastic and understands the emotional component to home buying. He just sold his first house last week, and we anticipate good things from him."
Said Solomon, "I'm really drawn toward home buyers, and helping them find a home based on their unique and personal needs. My experience with different teams and in different countries also gives me a helpful perspective in working with clients from different cultures. The training and tools I'm getting through CB Bain have been invaluable and I am excited about this new chapter."
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