Each year, Seafair names a Grand Marshal for its annual Torchlight Parade down 4th Avenue in downtown Seattle. Maybe it's because of the slowly fading dream of having an NBA team any time in the near future, or just because he's a great philanthropist, but for whatever reason, Seafair has picked SuperSonics star Gary Payton.
Payton, who earned a reputation for trash talking early his career, is a newly-minted nice guy who started his own foundation and has received accolades for his charitable work and contributions. He's also been tirelessly leading the charge to bring the Sonics back to Seattle, working closely with Chris Hansen.
"We're honored that Gary is serving in the Grand Marshal role and welcome him to the Seafair family," stated Beth Knox, President & CEO of Seafair, in the parade's press release.
"His international status as a sports legend combined with his commitment to the Seattle community makes him an ideal selection for the grand marshal role. I know fans will come out on Torchlight Night to recognize Gary for his incredible accomplishments," she explained.
The Torchlight Parade is on Saturday, July 27, from 2pm until 6pm.