- In 2001, Schultz, who made his name as CEO of Starbucks, led a group of Seattle investors to purchase the Sonics and the WNBA's Seattle Storm for $200 million from longtime owner Barry Ackerley. At the time, Schultz proclaimed he viewed the Sonics as a "public trust." The team would be safe in Seattle for years under his stewardship and he would return the franchise to championship form.
None of that came to be.
Schultz clashed with the team's star player, Gary Payton, and shipped him out of town. He briefly fought for a new or renovated arena, but abandoned the effort once it became clear that Seattle and Washington state were not interested in providing significant public funding.
By 2006, he sold the team to an ownership group from Oklahoma that many feared wanted to move the team to Oklahoma City. Two years later, it did.
Since then, the Oklahoma City Thunder have become one of the NBA's top teams, making the finals in 2012. Seattle still has no NBA franchise.
"As a Sonics fan, I would bet Howard Schultz has a better shot at Oklahoma's electoral votes than Washington's," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a possible 2020 Democratic candidate himself, told NBC News in a statement.