Leaky Coliseum roof halts Seattle SuperSonics-Phoenix Suns game, the first National Basketball Association contest called on account of rain, on January 6, 1986.

  • By David Wilma
  • Posted 7/20/2006
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 7860
On January 6, 1986, a scheduled game between the Seattle SuperSonics and the Phoenix Suns in the Coliseum is cancelled on account of rain leaking through the arena roof, the first ever  "rain out" for the National Basketball Association.

The Sonics first competed in the Coliseum in 1966, but a poorly constructed roof allowed rain to wet the floor during storms. On March 5, 1972, NBA scorer Spencer Haywood slipped on a rain puddle in the leaky room and injured his knee. He sued Seattle and the NBA and collected $55,000. The team moved to the Kingdome in 1980, but the City lured it back to the Coliseum in 1986.

On January 6, play against the Suns was delayed nine minutes as ball boys used towels to stay ahead of the leaks. Early second quarter, Phoenix led Seattle 35-24 and the roof continued leaking. Sonics coach Bernie Bickerstaff called a timeout after two players slipped and fell. Some of the 5,548 fans opened their umbrellas in the stands and others chanted, "Halfcourt! Halfcourt!" (Nelson). After a 55-minute delay, referee Mike Mathis called the game.

It was the first time in NBA history that a game had been called on account of rain. As of July 2006, it has not occurred since.

Sources: "The Soggy Sonics -- An Indoor Rainout," editorial, The Seattle Times, January 7, 1986, p A-6; Glenn Nelson, "Roof Reigns in First NBA `Rainout' -- Suns Will Lead by 11 When Play Resumes," Ibid., January 6, 1986, p. D-1; Elredge McCready, "So Long, Kingdome," Ibid., April 6, 1985, p. C-1.
Note: The date of this event was corrected on February 13, 2013.

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