SEATTLE Thousands of people, including Seattle SuperSonics legends, could be at downtown Seattle rally Thursday to drum up support for a new basketball arena and to bring the NBA back to the city.

The rally, led by investor Chris Hansen, begins at 4 p.m. at Occidental Park. At least 3,500 people have indicated on the event's Facebook page they will be attending.

Former Sonics Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and Slick Watts and former Sonics play-by-play announcer Kevin Calabro are expected to be there.

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Hansen announced Wednesday that Microsoft CEOSteve Ballmer, and Pete and Erik Nordstrom, will be part of the investment group.

For Sonics fans, the rally will be an important milestone.

We finally have a legitimate arena proposal and an ownership group unmatched, says an excited Jason Reid, founder of local fan group Sonicsgate. This is a dream come true. It s what we ve been waiting for as fans.

The rally is expected to wrap up around 6 p.m., just about the time the Oklahoma City Thunder tip off Game 2 of the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. The Thunder used to be the Sonics before the owners packed up and moved to Oklahoma in 2008. The Thunder lead the best-of-seven series 1-0.

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