With all due respect to Steve Ballmer, the Nordstrom family, minority stakeholders, ex-players, political figures, activists, media members, and anyone else who has helped lead the charge to bring the Sonics back to Seattle, I have to dedicate the following letter of thanks to one man, Chris Hansen. Without Chris, none of this “Bring Back the Sonics” mania even exists. Without Chris, we aren’t sitting here trying to wrap our collective heads around the real possibility that we may get our beloved green-and-gold-clad squad back. And without Chris, we lack the most important thing we need to keep the memory of our team and the prospect of its return alive: hope.
I still remember the day that Chris Hansen came riding into town on a proverbial white horse, seemingly out of nowhere, determined to bring the Sonics back to our fair city. It’s been more than a year. The first time I wrote about the guy was February 9th, 2012. I didn’t even know him, but I wanted to hug him. He got me believing in something that had been comatose, on life support. Who knew if the Sonics would ever come back? It had been three-and-a-half years since they’d left and the political climate from both ends of the spectrum — in Seattle, and with the NBA — was far from favorable.
But then this dude, this hedge fund manager, this guy no one knew — Who? Chris Hansen? The Dateline guy? The predator catcher? — changed all that.
I can’t be more clear about this. I don’t care what Chris Hansen does from this moment forward. I don’t care how he’s gone about trying to get our team back. I. Don’t. Care. The fact is, he’s made one hell of an effort. He’s put this entire town, this entire citizenry of basketball fans, upon his shoulders and carried us to this point. He’s done what no one before him could do. He’s made those who wanted to say “No,” say “Yes.” He’s forced non-believers to believe and believers to believe more. He’s been, if nothing else, inspirational.
It doesn’t all come down to today. Today, the NBA owners decide whether or not the Sacramento Kings can be relocated to Seattle. A vote in favor of relocation would pave the way for Hansen and Co. to buy the team, unencumbered, from the Maloof family. A vote against relocation would essentially allow for a Sacramento-based group led by Vivek Ranadive (and, let’s face it, mayor Kevin Johnson) to seize the team from the Maloofs, assuming the Maloofs would be willing to relinquish their asset to said group. A vote for the latter is what’s expected, the latter that likewise favors the opposition. Regardless of what decision is voted upon, however, there will be backlash. So no, this won’t be over on Wednesday. Not at all.
But let’s say the vote, as anticipated, were to favor Sacramento, not Seattle. And let’s say that the NBA, as anticipated, tried their hardest to get the Maloofs to sell the Kings to Ranadive’s group. Let’s say expansion failed to appear as a viable near-term option. And let’s say that, by Thursday, the situation looked bleak, at best. If Chris Hansen were to give up at that very moment, I wouldn’t blame him. I’d be a little surprised, but I wouldn’t blame him for walking away. And when I looked back upon Hansen’s legacy, I’d be happy for what he gave us over the course of a year-and-a-half. Because he’s given us a ton.
I don’t think Chris will give up, though. I don’t think he’ll quit. Not until the Sonics are more than just a memory. Not until there’s an NBA team inhabiting our city once again. What Chris Hansen and his cohorts have done is beyond amazing. They’ve given us hope, yes. But they’ve also given us clout with a league that turned its back on us just a few short years ago. They’ve given us a voice, they’ve made the world take notice. We’ve scratched and clawed our way back to relevance when it comes to professional basketball, and that’s thanks in large part to one individual who was brought to action by his own bubbling source of civic pride.
Maybe that’s why it will be damn near impossible to ever speak one ill word of Chris Hansen. Because unlike so many other guys who have propped themselves upon pedestals high above us average Seattleites, Hansen is one of us. He cares about this cause as much as we do. He loves Seattle as much as we do. He’s as average as they come, as average as the rest of us, and yet above-average in so many ways. As far as I’m concerned, this guy can do whatever the hell he wants. He’s a saint in my book. He deserves a holiday in his honor. Preferably something in August, because August needs a goddamn holiday. Who wants a day off in August? I know I do. Saint Hansen Day sounds like a good way to spend a summer afternoon.
No matter what happens today, tomorrow, next week, next year, next decade, I have two words for you, Chris: Thank you. You’ve made all of this possible. You’ve brought a legion of fans together. You’ve united a city. You’ve given us passion, you’ve given us fuel, you’ve given us reason to believe. We owe you a gigantic debt of gratitude and I can’t tell you how much all of this means to us. We are the Sonics, all of us. You, me, every fan emblazoned with the Seattle skyline in a green-and-gold semi-circle. Until our ballclub returns, this team is thousands upon thousands deep.
As they say in one of my favorite movies, Remember the Titans, “attitude reflects leadership.” You have led us remarkably. And we are one badass group of basketball fans.
Thanks, Chris. Go Sonics.
Filed under: Sonics
I hate losing. I once sat in a 1991 Toyota Previa in the Factoria Square parking lot and bawled for an hour because I had pitched poorly in a Little League game and had cost my team a victory. My family went inside to eat dinner and I stayed in the van, refusing to eat, refusing to move. I don’t do well with defeat. I never have. Even now, there is little that can be done to assuage me when my team so much as drops a rec basketball game. I will either a) sit in grim silence for an entire car ride home, or b) verbally break down every single thing that went wrong on our failed quest for triumph. My friends deserve a lot of credit for dealing with that version of me that, to this day, struggles to cope with losing.
I guess in many ways it’s ironic that I am a Seattle sports fans — I don’t know how to lose, and seemingly all my teams do is just that. My whole life, I’ve encountered failure from these entities I hold so dear to me, and yet I’ve never learned how to accept the bitter taste of defeat. I sat through an entire childhood of Seahawks futility, labored through thousands (literally, thousands) of Mariner losses, had seats in the upper level for every home game of the only 0-12 season in University of Washington football history, then paid witness to the ultimate heartbreak when the Sonics were taken from us and moved to Oklahoma City.
When I started this website and began writing in a public forum, I didn’t really know what would happen next. On the day I embarked upon this journey — November 12th, 2008, officially — Seattle was in a rut. We were only a couple months removed from losing the Sonics, in the midst of that fateful 0-12 Husky football campaign, had just suffered through a 100-loss Mariners season, and were on the verge of watching the Seahawks put together a miserable 4-12 finish. Things were worse than usual and I felt compelled to share my emotions. For me, it was the only way to cope with, at that time, 24 years of misery come to a head.
Over the course of four-and-a-half years, I’ve witnessed firsthand what bonding over tragedy truly looks like. We tend to think of the loss of human life as one of the few instances where the term “tragedy” applies. On a much smaller (and undoubtedly, less important) scale, however, losing a game, a playoff berth, or a team is viewed as a tragedy in the microcosmic world of your typical sports fan. Knowing that, Seattle sports fans must be some of the most grief-stricken people in the history of organized athletics. We should be miserable. At all times. And occasionally we do get that way. But for all the shit we go through so frequently, there is this perpetual hope existing amongst all of us that bears mentioning. It is not at all insignificant in its existence.
I remember the day the Sonics left town back in 2008. I didn’t mourn that day, or anytime shortly thereafter. It took me until the opening day of the ’08-’09 season to realize that we weren’t getting our team back anytime soon. Up to that point, I had refused to accept the inevitable. I just could not do it. That might make me the least credible person in the world when it comes to saying what I’m about to say, but screw it, I’ll say it anyway.
I may be naive. I may be on an island. I may be the only one who still believes after the events of Monday afternoon that Seattle is destined to get its NBA team back. But I truly have faith that this good thing, this return, is going to happen. I have no sound logic behind my faith, because really, that’s not what faith is. Faith is believing in something not knowing if that thing actually exists. Faith is blind and sometimes stupid and often irrational and possibly inane. But faith is necessary. Faith exists to give us hope and reason to get up each morning. Faith exists to make us smile even though we’re sad, to persevere when times are tough. I have faith that, even though the NBA has told us we won’t get someone else’s basketball team on this day, we will still get our Sonics back.
On this day, things kind of suck. We’re hurting, and no one wants to hurt. We’ve been down this road before, this path to what appears to be yet another tragic ending. All along, though, we’ve never given up. This city and its fans have pulled together time and time again for reasons unknown. We’ve bonded in moments of adversity on countless occasions and we’ve done so with little more than faith holding us together. I don’t really know what it means to be truly exceptional, but I like to think that Seattle sports fans are exactly that. We don’t settle for the tragedy of losing. We fall, and then we rise again. Every single time. So why should this time be any different?
If the NBA spurns us — if the NBA spurns Seattle and Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer and all the good people who have made this new arena we’re going to build a reality — it will be a blow to our collective psyche that I don’t want to try to process right now. It appears today that the NBA may be one step closer to disappointing us, but I like to think there’s something else going on, something good, that maybe we don’t know about yet.
I have this unreasonable amount of hope for us. I know that. I may be foolish for that. Whatever. When you’ve been through as much crap as we have, there really is no other way to approach obstacles as they present themselves.
I believe in Seattle. I believe in Seattle’s sports fans. We are strong individually and even stronger together. We’re destined for good, I just know it.
So I leave you with this clip. As dumb as it is, it makes sense on this day. Because nothing is over until we say it is.
Filed under: Other Sports
The accountant who leases the office space in my company’s building has never said much more than a casual “Hello” to me in two-and-a-half years. I always politely greet him in return, and we’ll occasionally share a “How ya doing?” followed by a “Good, good. You?” We may have exchanged comments on the weather a few times, and perhaps even celebrated the occasional TGIF moment as we’ve checked out for the weekend. But in all, we’ve never really talked about anything of substance.
There’s a clerk at the grocery store I stop at on my way to work. He’s silver-haired, probably in his early-fifties. I’ve watched him interact with other patrons, as well as his coworkers. He has a sense of humor and a gregarious personality. He’s likable and appears to be well-liked. He can deliver a joke and is quick with a laugh. We had never spoken before, until one day when I stood in the aisle perusing cold drinks and heard to my left an abrupt, “Hey!”
At a different supermarket, a pretty, dark-haired girl who appears to be in her early-twenties rings up my late-night purchases one evening. I’m the lone person in line, and only a handful of nocturnal shoppers populate the landscape around us. As she runs a few unhealthy snacks across the scanner, the checker notices my shirt. “So,” she inquires, “do you think they’re coming back?”
I look through old photos of my childhood and find one of my brother and myself standing in a field. The field seems to greet the horizon, miles and miles away. I am probably 10 years of age in this picture, my brother no more than seven. The year is 1994.
We’re in Kenmare, North Dakota, a small mill town in the western part of the state. You’d barely notice it on a map. It’s where my relatives lived, and here in this picture we stand amidst knee-high grass across a gravel road from my great-grandfather’s farm. It’s the middle of summer, probably late-July or early-August.
Summers in Kenmare are hot, sticky, infested by mosquitoes who riddle your body with itchy, swelling bumps. Over the course of that summer trip, as well as trips before and after it, I build collections of mosquito bites and tally the wounds on a nightly basis. To a 10-year-old without a care in the world, each bite is like a trophy I wear upon my skin, a badge worthy of sharing with anyone who will give me two seconds of their time.
Twilight lingers around us as a single blemish dots the graying sky above our heads. The moon hangs there, a telltale sign of the time of day this photo was captured.
In the waning light you can make out the logos on our t-shirts. Green-and-gold semi-circles are stamped upon each garment.
“Hey, how ya doing?” The accountant waits by the elevator as I exit the nearby staircase.
“Good,” I reply. “You?”
“Good,” he responds. “I like that shirt.”
I’m wearing a kelly green Supersonics sweatshirt, crewneck, early-nineties style. It’s colorful, it’s loud, it’s exactly how I feel about the basketball team we used to have here in Seattle.
“Oh yeah?” I laugh. “Thanks!”
“They’re coming back soon,” he affirms.
With a grin, I agree. “Yep, they’ll be back shortly.”
We go our separate ways. It’s a ten-second interaction. It’s filled with more substance than any interaction we’ve previously had over the past 31 months.
Thanks to the occasional UPS package that’s been left in our care as office space neighbors to the accountant, I know his name is Brad. And after today, I know that Brad, like me, is a Sonics fan.
“You think we’re gonna get the Kings?” asks the silver-haired clerk.
“Man, I hope so,” I respond. I’m wearing a bright green Sonics t-shirt on this day, a throwback to two decades earlier.
“I bet we do. And here’s what I think should happen…” He goes off into a well-thought-out mission statement of sorts on what the Sonics will do once they return to Seattle. He alludes to draft picks and free agents — “What do you think about Durant? You think we can get him back?” — and unleashes as much knowledge as any NBA fan could possibly have.
I nod. I listen. I offer what I know.
We speak for almost 10 minutes in front of chilled sodas and bottles of water. We’re beaming from ear to ear as we talk, getting ourselves excited over nothing more than a hope, a possibility.
As our conversation comes to a close, he pauses, then remarks, “It was great talking with you.”
“Likewise,” I say. And it was, too. There’s no hint of forced exaggeration in either of our voices. We’re just two fans, chatting.
He goes back to stocking shelves. I grab my drink and head to the front of the store. We acknowledge one another each time we meet thereafter.
“They’re coming back,” I assert. I’m sporting a grey hooded sweatshirt with a Sonics logo on it, a purchase I made just days after the team moved to Oklahoma City back in 2008.
“Really?” asks the dark-haired checker. “Good. I can’t wait to go back to games.”
“Yeah, it’s not done yet,” I admit, “but it’ll happen soon enough.”
“That’s awesome. I’m excited!” She smiles wide as she hands me my receipt. “Have a good night!”
“You too,” I reply.
I can’t suppress a half-smirk as I walk away. People are excited about this. People are excited about the Sonics.
The photo tells the story. From a young age, I grew up a Sonics fan. So did my brother. So did my friends. We were all Sonics fans.
There was this portrayal by the nation’s media in the aftermath of the team’s departure that this region was littered with apathetic pseudo-fans. That no one here really cared that the team left. Even in our own city, where lawmakers publicly questioned the value of the basketball team, there were those who didn’t know just how important the Sonics were to us.
As time has passed, people’s eyes have been opened. They’ve seen how much this matters to us. They’ve seen how badly we miss our team, and how eagerly we await their return.
It’s not so much if they return, but when. And a week ago, when news broke that this was it, that it was finally on the verge of happening, well, we rejoiced.
This is more than a basketball organization. It’s more than a logo and colors. It’s more than a few players, more than a uniform. For Seattleities, the Sonics have embodied what it means to hope, what it means to dream, what it means to believe in something. We bond over their memory. We unite over their future. We share moments of memorable interaction over a team.
Losing the Sonics was the worst thing that’s ever happened to sports fans in this town. But now, in the wake of their revival, we can reflect on the past four years and see them for what they’ve been. The adversity that came along with our collective loss brought us all together. And no quantity of statistics, no congregation of naysayers, no antagonists of our fight can refute that.
We are stronger than we were five years ago. We deserve this team. We deserve the Seattle Supersonics.
Filed under: Sonics
If you would have told me on July 2nd, 2008 that in four years, two months, and nine days, Seattle would be celebrating the Supersonics, I would have laughed at you. The Supersonics were gone, taken from us on that very day. And September 11th, 2012? It was a date so distant, so irrelevant to anything more than, well, you know, and so seemingly non sequitur to NBA basketball that it would have made absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.
If you would have told me on July 2nd, 2008, that four years, two months, and nine days in the future, I’d be celebrating along with a community of passionate, tight-knit, basketball-loving, Sonics freaks, I’d have scoffed. Because on that day, way back when, we weren’t that. None of us. We were just…individuals. Who had been hurt. Badly. And didn’t know what to do with our introverted pain.
If you would have told me on July 2nd, 2008 that our community would grow closer over those four years, two months, and nine days, I wouldn’t have believed you. Seattle sports fans had scattered amidst the wreckage of a professional basketball franchise departing our region, distanced ourselves from one another as nearly every one of our local teams staggered to finish their respective seasons of misfortune, and grown apart while losing divided us. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Our situation was miserable. We were miserable. And nobody wants to share misery with the equally miserable. So we wallowed alone, miserably.
If you would have told me on July 2nd, 2008 that anger and determination would replace misery, that we would get mad — not sad — over what had become of us, that we would fight, relentlessly, to get our team back, I would have raised an eyebrow. Curious? Yes. Doubtful? Maybe. Intrigued? Definitely. How would it happen? Why would it happen? Would we have any reason to make it happen? There wasn’t much hope on the horizon that day. And without hope, without belief in a destined outcome, there is no reason to spend one’s energy striving for something greater. On that day, in that moment we had our hearts torn to shreds against the backdrop of an inept city council giggling over whatever it was they found amusing about such a downright shitty situation, we had nothing greater to strive for. We were upset. But we didn’t know what to do about it.
And then, over the course of four years, two months, and nine days, everything began to change.
We have become accustomed to fighting for the Seattle Supersonics since July 2nd, 2008. It’s second nature to us now. We wax poetically about a basketball team that we absolutely loved. We blast those people — absolutely blast them – who speak ill of our misfortune, who chafe at our zealousness, who can’t seem to grasp why the hell we continue to battle the masses to bring back a franchise that they deem “defunct.” Defunct means dead. Defunct means forgotten. The Sonics may have left temporarily, but they are not dead or forgotten.
We are stronger now than we were then. Think about it. Think about all the people you’ve gotten to know in the past four years, two months, and nine days. Think about the common bonds you share. And think about how the Sonics, supposedly defunct, play into those relationships you have. I have friends I’ve made solely because of the Seattle Supersonics. And maybe I always had that; I likely did. But now, in the absence of that very thing that bred friendships, it’s become even more apparent that an entire relationship can flourish around the memory of a basketball team. And in turn, around the faith we have in resurrecting that team anew.
I’ve benefited directly because of the Seattle Supersonics. You probably have, too. Seattle City Councilman Nick Licata once stated that the Sonics held “near zero” cultural value. Over the course of four years, two months, and nine days, he’s backtracked on those comments significantly. He knows he was wrong. We knew he was wrong. And when you think about the value, as a whole, of a community staple like the Sonics, examine your life and see where that team — or really any sports team, for that matter — has impacted you. I can point to specific examples of good things in my life today that would not exist if the Seattle Supersonics had never existed. And I’d imagine that you can do that, as well.
In those four years, two months, and nine days, a savior has emerged, inspired by his community, and has become the figurehead of this mission to bring back our Sonics. Chris Hansen has been at the forefront of a new arena deal, has been the face of the fight, has been our Paul Revere, and has brought all our hopes and all our faith to fruition. If you ask him, though, he’ll point the finger the other way. Sure, he has the money to back the cause, but this is a community effort. He wouldn’t be doing this without us. He wouldn’t be here without us. He wouldn’t have been this patient, this dedicated, if Seattle wasn’t behind him. He believes in us. And us? We believe in him.
So now what? We have an arena deal in place. We have the funding in place. We have everyone’s approval. But this fight isn’t over.
We need a team. We’ll get a team.
We need players. We’ll get players.
We need a championship. We’ll get a championship.
Everything seems possible right now. And frankly, it is. We’ve proven it to be possible thus far. We’ll continue to do so.
It has been four years, two months, and nine days since we started over. We’ve made undeniable progress today. We’re almost there. And we’ll keep up the fight. But for right now, we take a moment to celebrate. Because what we have done to this point is flat-out amazing. We’re a special community. Most communities wouldn’t do this. They wouldn’t fight for what they love as viciously as we have. Every fan has played a part in bringing us to this point. And every fan deserves credit for preserving that hope we’ve all shared.
We are absolutely great, Seattle. We’re doing it. We’re really doing it. We are bringing back the Sonics. And I gotta tell you, it feels…amazing.
Filed under: Sonics
This is an actual scene from Seth MacFarlane’s soon-to-be-released feature film, Ted. It is absolutely glorious. Especially if you’re a Sonics fan.
Ted is MacFarlane’s first feature film. He’s best known as the creator of such television shows as Family Guy, The Cleveland Show, and American Dad.
The comedy stars Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, and MacFarlane as the voice of the title character. It premieres nationwide in theaters on Friday, June 29th.
Filed under: Sonics
You may have seen these shirts that some Oklahoma City Thunder fans managed to come up with recently:
What you likely haven’t seen is my shirt, which I just created a few minutes ago:
Sure, it’s a little crude in its design, but I’m no t-shirt entrepreneur. It has potential, though. Always nice to be polite. Please, Thank You, and You’re Welcome. Never forget.
Filed under: Sonics
I wore a Sonics t-shirt yesterday. Grey. It’s my favorite shirt. I wear it every week. There’s a faded stain underneath the screen print that most people don’t notice. I get a little self-conscious about blemishes on my clothing, but this one doesn’t bother me so much.
I have a trash can in my room. It’s a Sonics trash can. Right now it’s lined with a plastic shopping bag from Target. This morning, I noticed the bag was obscuring the green-and-gold logo on the exterior. I rearranged the bag. I want people to see that logo when they walk in.
I have a hoop on my bedroom door. When I dunk on it, I’m Shawn Kemp. When I shoot jumpers, I’m Detlef. When I kiss it off the glass, I’m G.P. When I miss, I’m Sene.
I like to search “seattle sonics” on YouTube and see what comes up. I like to mutter “Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuupersonics” quietly under my breath when no one else is around. I get a little excited when I overhear names like “Eddie Johnson” in casual conversation.
I remember the first team I ever saw take on the Sonics in person at the Coliseum. The Dallas Mavericks. They were horrible. My dad took me. We bought a program. I cut out the pictures of the players when we got home, mostly because I was one of those kids who just liked to cut paper. Bart Kofoed was on the squad. Bart Kofoed. No one even knows who that is. I was seven.
My world came crashing down on July 2, 2008, the day Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels marched onto my TV screen and announced in jovial fashion that an agreement had been reached to let the Sonics — our Sonics — depart for another city. He laughed. That jerk laughed. Like he’d just won an award or something. It was like laughing at your significant other during the middle of a breakup. Do you not get the meaning of this moment, you moron? Do you not understand how f**king heartbroken we are? What the f**k is wrong with you? Why the f**k are you laughing? This is really happening. This is really over. This is really the end. And you’re laughing. You’re a jerk.
I was sad that day. We all deal with devastating news in our own unique way. Some people punch walls, or yell and scream. Some people break down and cry. Some people drink, or try to talk it out with their loved ones. I went through the rest of my day like a zombie. I let my head spin with thoughts while the afternoon played out in the background. I suppose that day was the first day I ever had enough fuel in my brain to lead me to create this website and start writing on a regular basis. That day was certainly important. But on that day, in that moment, I was plainly and simply sad.
It has been three years, seven months, and one week since our team was taken from us. One-thousand-three-hundred-seventeen days. Like being in prison. Over that length of time, we’ve been told “no” more often than we’ve been told “yes.” Will this year be the year we get an arena built? No. Will today be the day we approve funding? No. We’ve been teased by the prospect of new legislation, tickled by the thought of every hare-brained money-raising scheme that has been propositioned by entrepreneurs looking to have their names linked to heroics. It’s like Zack Morris has been running the show. There have been all sorts of zany plans to be had. It’s been a matter of making those zany plans work in the realm of sensibility, however. And to date, that hasn’t happened.
We’ve been duped in some ways. Led to believe by so many that hope was on the horizon. We’ve been let down time and again. We’ve been stuck in a relationship full of disappointment. We’ve been glum. We’ve shrugged our shoulders, hung our heads, kicked at pebbles, and moved on. And yet in spite of all that, we have not given up.
We sit here under grey skies for much of the year. We are an afterthought to much of the rest of the nation, if not a bit of a punch line. It rains in Seattle. They drink coffee in Seattle. They’re different in Seattle. Do they see the sunshine in Seattle? Do they ever have fun in Seattle? Do they still listen to grunge in Seattle? When was the last time any of those Seattle teams were any good? You know the Thunder, the Oklahoma City Thunder? They won a championship in 1979, when they were in Seattle.
We can slog through the rainy winters. We can handle the espresso one-liners and the jabs at our music scene. We might even chuckle along with you from time to time. But when it comes to the Sonics — the Seattle Supersonics, OUR Seattle Supersonics, the 1979 World Champion Seattle Supersonics — the laughter ceases. This was our baby that was kidnapped. We don’t joke about that. There is nothing funny about that. Our sense of humor only extends so far.
We have had MISSING posters hanging up for nearly four years now. We have had Clay Bennett and David Stern atop our local “Most Wanted” list. We have been waiting. We have been yearning. We have been pining and aching and agonizing. We need our team back. We need reason to believe. There are those who inspire and those in need of inspiration. We are the latter. We’ve been on a three-year, seven-month, one-week odyssey in search of the former.
It appears our quest may be coming to an end. There’s a guy. Chris Hansen is his name. Not that Chris Hansen. Not the guy from Dateline. We’re not catching any predators here. Businessman Chris Hansen. He has money. He bought underdeveloped land south of downtown Seattle. He intends to use it to build an arena.
There’s a partnership. The City of Seattle wants to work with Hansen on his building. They want to make this happen. The mayor, the city council members, they’re all making their rounds on the media circuit, trumpeting this cause that appears all but inevitable. It will happen, they’re telling us. It will get built. There will be a facility.
And as it gets constructed, as ground is broken on what used to be an industrial business park of some sort, a team will find its way back to the Emerald City. Our team. No matter who they are or where they hail from, they will be the Supersonics. Our Supersonics. The team we once lost.
There are logistics, of course. Nothing is even close to being finalized yet. We haven’t passed anything, or approved anything, or agreed upon much of anything. But for the first time in months, we’re being told something other than “No.” For the first time in months, we’re being told “Yes.”
We shouldn’t get our hopes up. We’ve been down this road before. We’ve been left standing at the altar one too many times. There’s a warning in there somewhere. And I hope you’ll ignore it.
I want to be excited about the Sonics again. I want you to be excited about the Sonics again. I want to wake up tomorrow and have a team. I want to wear my grey t-shirt and green hoodie and have my wardrobe get more than an amused grin from passers-by. I want that history back. I want that relevance back. I want to go to a game and sit in the rafters and watch the lights dim and have some baritone-voiced P.A. announcer recite a starting lineup to me.
I don’t want the diluted Clay Bennett version of our franchise we had that final season the Sonics were here. I want Squatch spinning down from the ceiling. I want a blimp floating around a sold-out crowd dropping envelopes on attendees. I want to yell at refs. I want twelve-minute quarters.
I want to go to that very first game back in town. I want to be there as they raise the number 40 and the number 20 high up into the nether reaches of our building. I want to tear up when they talk about everything we went through to get this team back. I want to view a highlight video featuring forty-one years of greatness, a video that will give me goosebumps every time I watch it from now until the day I die. I want to get stupid emotional over this thing that I love so damn much, however inexplicable that may be.
I want a lump in my throat when I hear the news that they’re coming back. I want to get chills. I want to put on my Gary Payton jersey and just stand there for a minute looking at it in the mirror. I want someone to tell me I’m acting like a little kid because I’m giddy with excitement. I want a pretty girl to roll her eyes at me, kiss me on the cheek, and accept my passion, understanding that this is just one of those little things I’ll never be able to live without.
I want to jump out of my seat when we throw down our first HOLYCRAPDIDYOUSEETHAT?! alley-oop. I want to wake up sore the next morning with my head aching because we celebrated a playoff victory the night before.
I want a championship. I’m selfish. I want us to win.
I want to look at the standings every day. I want to look at the stats every day. I want a cheesy bobblehead of a player I don’t care about. I want more stuff with our logo on it. I want to make fun of the Boom Squad because every one of those little bastards can dance better than me. I want a big budget halftime show, lasers, and a smoke machine. I want purists to sit there with me and lament the changing nature of the game. I want people to be pissed when we lose. I want to complain about our guys when they under-perform. I want to pay way too much for arena food and arena beer. I don’t even care that I could get better food and better beer for much cheaper elsewhere. I want that shitty food. I want that shitty beer. Because it comes with my basketball team. It comes with the Sonics. So it’s worth it. Without question, it is worth it.
This is my team. This is my team. You don’t understand. You don’t get it. This is the thing I love. This is the thing we love.
Screw it. I believe in this city. I believe in the heroes. I believe in the fans. I believe in the power of good. I believe it’s going to happen. I believe it. I’m saying this with a smile on my face. You can’t see it, but it’s there. I’m typing this and it’s there.
The Sonics are coming back.
It’s time to get excited.
Filed under: Sonics
The NBA likes to pretend we don’t exist. That we don’t care about them and as a result they, in turn, don’t have to care about us. Seattle? Where’s Seattle? Is that a village or something? What is that?
We had our basketball team stolen from us and relocated a thousand miles away in the middle of God-knows-where. That was bad enough, certainly. But it was made worse by the fact that we were repeatedly slandered after the pillaging. That the thieves made off with our prized possession, then tried to convince the masses that we didn’t care about being hijacked. Seattle fans are apathetic, they said. Seattle fans don’t deserve our product. Seattle fans haven’t been showing up to games, or cheering for their team, or even giving a damn about what happens on the court with their Sonics. Seattle fans weren’t good enough, they claimed.
Like scorned lovers left out in the cold after a marriage gone awry, we were dragged through the muddy rhetoric of he-said-she-said. The National Basketball Association, led by commissioner David Stern, insulted our fanaticism. Forget forty-one years of history. Forget the World Championship, the passionate loyalty, and the Finals appearances. They took our team, then they ripped out our hearts and stomped on them. They embarrassed us to prove a horribly misguided point: that in this time of economic desperation, NO team and NO fan base is safe from the wrath of the NBA’s epically abysmal crap business model.
We all know by now that the NBA has been losing money. This has been going on for the better part of the past decade. Teams have been shuffled from city to city in attempts to try and salvage income for Stern’s wallet. The Sonics were simply the most recent — and arguably most glaring — of all the migrations. The Hornets left Charlotte, but an expansion franchise was granted to the vacated North Carolina metropolis seemingly minutes later. The Grizzlies departed Vancouver for Memphis, but did so just six years after playing their first game north of the border.
The Sonics, on the other hand, were entrenched in the fabric of our community. Even after ne’er-do-well owners had tried to extract our beloved Mariners and Seahawks from their SODO homes, our Sonics seemed untouchable. They were the one constant. Our first and longest-tenured major professional sports franchise.
There has been no healing process. No coping. Only a constant battle to bring back our team to its rightful place on the map. And now, closing in on four years since they were taken from us, there is significant talk that an NBA team could be returning shortly.
It all hinges on an arena. Ours wasn’t sufficient, isn’t sufficient. At least by the NBA’s standards. Last week, it was revealed that a group of local businessmen were in talks with the city to construct a state-of-the-art multi-purpose facility just south of Safeco and Century Link Fields. The venue would be used to entice both an NBA franchise and an NHL franchise into coming here. In the case of the NHL, the rumored tenant appears to be the Phoenix Coyotes, who have struggled to make a lasting footprint in the desert (shocking, I know). With the NBA, it is the Sacramento Kings, who have called California’s state capitol home for the past twenty-seven years.
Whether or not the Kings end up leaving Sacramento remains to be seen. Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding their potential departure will be as heart-wrenching for the Kings’ fan base as it once was for ours. It hardly seems fair. Fans in every major city from here to Canada are at-risk for the same treatment we received in 2008. The league’s shaky grasp on reality and business economics would be comical if it wasn’t so damn sad. But this is the world we live in.
We may get our Sonics back or we may not. That isn’t the point, however. Win or lose, team or no team, we will never fully heal from this. Everybody remembers having their heart broken. You never love the same way the second time around. That’s what we’ll be asked to do when our team finally returns to Seattle.
We shouldn’t have been broken up with in the first place. We gave our love to that franchise and to that league and they cheated on us. They didn’t anticipate that we’d care, that we’d be so…devastated.
This is Seattle. This is a city where we escape rain nine months out of the year by finding our way into dusty gyms with hardwood flooring. Where we revel in our beautiful summer afternoons by sunning ourselves on white-lined asphalt beaches. Where we’ve produced more talented basketball stars per capita than any city in America, I’d bet money on it. Where we live and breathe hoop, live and breathe the rhythm of the dribble and the rip of the net on a jumper as pure as clean air.
We are basketball. It doesn’t make sense, I know. We’re not New York. We’re not Indiana. We’re Seattle. We’re not supposed to be a hoop hotbed. But we are. And we loved our team so freakin’ much. We loved the Sonics. They were everything to us. They were what turned us into basketball fiends. How could you take them from us? How could you act like we didn’t give a shit when they left?
The NBA underestimated us. And now they might be coming back. It will be a love-hate relationship for all-time. We’ll love our Sonics. We will love that team like they never left in the first place. But the NBA? We will always hate the NBA.
We are passionate and we will never, ever forget. Yes, we want our Sonics. Yes, we want a new arena, forty-one home games a year, the annual appeal of the playoffs, and all the amenities that come from being a major sports market. But you will never, ever meet a more furiously incensed fan base as us, as the Seattle faithful.
We are basketball. You neglected us. We’ll always hate you for it.
Now give us back our one true love.
Filed under: Sonics
One for every f**king year of history we have.
1. We’re the Seattle Supersonics, the only team in NBA history to have the word “Super” in our nickname. That’s not by accident. We’re super awesome.
2. We used to play our games in the Coliseum, which is so highly thought of that the Romans named their ancient structure after our much more modern one.
3. Our mascot is the only known Sasquatch on the face of the earth.
4. Dale Ellis holds the team record for most points in a single season. He tallied 2,253 of those during the 1988-1989 campaign. Dale Freakin’ Ellis. The Michael Jordan of his era.
5. This video:
6. We had to endure two seasons of Jim McIlvaine. Every other city that had to endure even one season of McIlvaine still has a team. That’s not fair.
7. In 1983, our general manager, Zollie Volchok, won NBA Executive of the Year. His name is Zollie Volchok. That should count for something. A name like that is rare as shit and you know it.
8. New Orleans doesn’t give a damn about their team. They’re like the chick with a nice rack who wants to get breast reduction surgery. And we’re the flat-chested girl that’s wondering what the hell that big-boobed hottie’s problem is. You’re taking this wonderful blessing for granted! Why can’t we get some of that action? Stop being so damn selfish.
9. Our own Xavier McDaniel once choked out the Lakers’ Wes Mathews. Everybody hates the Lakers. He was doing it for America! It looked like this:
10. Our arch-rival — the Portland Trailblazers — is rival-less. That’s messed up. That’s like if Mr. Hand never had Jeff Spicoli in his life. We are the stoner student to their buttoned-up history teacher. We belong together. Aloha, Portland.
11. NBA Jam is worthless without the Sonics. Every gamer knows the importance of Payton-to-Kemp.
12. The guy that made the headband popular was our point guard. He was also named Slick. A guy named Slick who made headbands cool. That’s pimpin’.
13. Ricky Pierce used to play for us and he had one of the greatest mustaches of all-time:
14. We took bullets for the rest of the league by wasting first-round draft picks on a handful of centers that never amounted to anything: Rich King, Vladimir Stepania, Robert Swift, Johan Petro, Mouhamed Sene. Where’s our thank-you card?
15. We had to put up with the fat, alcoholic version of Vin Baker.
16. We have our own award-winning documentary, Sonicsgate, which should be viewed by anyone who considers themselves a basketball fan.
17. The greatest white dunker in the history of the game, Tom Chambers, spent some of his best years with the Sonics doing crazy shit like this:
18. Jesus Shuttlesworth played for us.
19. We have more NBA championships (one) than the Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, New Orleans Hornets, Minnesota Timberwolves, Orlando Magic, Memphis Grizzlies, Toronto Raptors, Charlotte Bobcats and OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER combined.
20. Our last owner abandoned us.
21. The owner before that also abandoned us.
22. Both those owners are notoriously horrible people who will one day burn in hell. Would you rather support the notoriously horrible hell-burners or an innocent, victimized fan base?
23. This video:
24. Shawn Kemp’s tilted flattop fade was the coolest hairstyle of the ’90s and you know it.
25. Proving he is one of basketball’s all-time greatest defenders, Gary Payton has spent most of his post-playing career campaigning for the return of the team to Seattle. Give the man a rest already.
26. The first coach in franchise history to lead us to a winning record was also the team’s starting point guard. His name was Lenny Wilkens.
27. Dennis Johnson’s jump for joy during the 1979 championship run:
28. We let Danny Fortson play for us. Most teams wouldn’t do that.
29. Our nickname refers to the boom heard when an object in motion travels faster than the speed of sound. That kind of scientific sophistication makes teams like the Nuggets and Jazz look foolish.
30. We had Predrag Drobnjak on the squad. And we let him do this:
31. If the previous reason didn’t sell you, consider the fact that Drobnjak had a cat named Jinkies and then rethink your decision.
32. David Stern hates us. Everybody hates David Stern. Ipso facto, everybody should love us.
33. In Seattle, we really like complaining about poor officiating. There’s really no officiating worse than that of the NBA. We need each other. It’s meant to be.
34. Michael Cage’s Jheri curl juice:
35. Sir Mix-A-Lot wrote this song about the Sonics shortly after writing another song about ample female posteriors:
36. Steve Scheffler’s dancing in the above video. That alone should make us worthy of getting our team back.
37. Two words: Olumide Oyedeji.
38. Luke Ridnour did a lot of NBA players favors by never playing any defense. We should get some sort of credit for all those points he relinquished.
39. It rains a lot here. When it rains, we need to go inside for shelter. NBA arenas provide shelter. We have one of those, but we can’t currently use it. That just seems like a waste.
40. Ask NBA players if they’d rather spend a night in Seattle or, say, Indianapolis. They’ll tell you where they want to go. Our ladies of the evening are high class.
41. Because we didn’t deserve to have them stolen from us in the first place.
Bring back our Sonics. Stop being so mean.
Filed under: Sonics
Why? Why the hell not? If this doesn’t brighten your day, your day is unbrightenable. Bring back the Sonics.
Filed under: Sonics
Check out this excerpt from an article entitled Whistled While They Worked in the May 30th issue of ESPN The Magazine. ESPN’s Kenny Mayne interviews a panel of sports figures notorious for running afoul of the rules, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Here’s how the article comes to its conclusion:
Mayne: Are you worried about fallout because you spoke candidly about referees?
Cuban: There’s always a risk of my getting fined. But in this case there’s no solid ground.
Mayne: What if in the transactions it said, “Mark Cuban fined $100,000 for talking to that bastard Kenny Mayne from Seattle, the city we stripped of a franchise”?
Cuban: That would be money well spent.
In the words of Jeffrey Spicoli, “Awesome. Totally awesome.”
Thank you, Mark Cuban.
Filed under: Sonics
Really, when you get right down to it, all you have is an ephemeral white line upon equally ephemeral man-made pavement. In mere minutes, the bike lane can be reduced to nothingness, the restricting boundary erased like a stray pencil mark on white college rule, the manicured rockery eroded like silt along a riverbank.
And yet for some reason we give unto the bike lane as if it were more than that. As if its whiteness — purity’s hue, mind you — is more than just the rigid absence of color. We are asked to share the road, to co-inhabit the concrete, and we do that. We do it both willingly and lawfully, steering our motor vehicles or our pedestrian paws away from said lane. Seemingly at all costs we avoid this forbidden expanse…save for those of us who pedal our Schwinns down its purity-lined path, of course.
As drivers and foot commuters, we yield space to our two-wheeled brethren. One could argue, however, that they do not yield equally to others in return. Consider, if you will, all those cyclists who filter into the flow of motorized traffic, who wander onto walkways, who stray from the sanctity of the bike lane in spite of its mere existence. Wherefore art thou, dear cyclist, when this holy light through yonder pavement breaks? Dost thou not revel in its grandeur, in its grace? Nay, thou dost not.
What it really boils down to is this: the bike lane is underutilized and overrated. We share with it; it shares not with us. Yet in this fair city of ours, this wonderful oasis of emerald infrastructure, the bike lane holds the key to all political perpetuation.
So I propose this.
Imagine if the bike lane held not just bikes, but people of all modalities of transportation, all walks of life. As we share our external havens with cyclists, they too will share their haven with us.
The bike lane will play host to thousands at a time, perhaps up to 20,000 in one sitting alone. They will sit and stand and scream and cheer and turn this lane once reserved for occasional transport into a celebration of emotion.
And yes, there will be seats. Tiered seats with cushioned backs and armrests with cup holders. Seats that fill with bodies and warmth and vibrance. Seats that contain the absolute verisimilitude of human life.
The bike lane will become a sought-after destination. Parents will take their children to witness greatness in the bike lane, to teach them values in the bike lane, to share memories with them in the bike lane. Young adults will mingle in the bike lane, find love in the bike lane, take their dates to the bike lane. The bike lane will be characterized as a social dwelling, an intersection of interaction.
Then, you will see it blossom. The city will flourish in its midst. Foam fingers will emerge, pride will swell, happiness will sprout, civic unity will thrive.
And there, in its center, at its heart, will sit a slab of stained hardwood upon which to play. A testament to achievement, to will, to sacrifice, to goodness. It will be the focal point of the bike lane, where the patrons of the bike lane will lay their eyes when they sit and stand and scream and cheer.
It will dawn on someone that this isn’t a bike lane. That it’s an arena. A venue. But no one will care. Because they will go to it anyway. Because it’s theirs and it serves a purpose greater than any white line on cold pavement could ever attain.
For now, though, we must disguise it. If not, it will never get built. This sanctuary of ours, sports fans, must be shrouded amidst the impracticality of sequestered white lineage. To see it come to fruition, we have to hide it, lest our government see it for what it is.
So please, sir. Mayor McGinn, sir. Your Almightiness, sir. Please do us this favor. Please give us this bike lane. It will bring you money beyond your wildest dreams. It will make you a hero. It will be unlike any other bike lane you’ve vomited upon our streets thus far.
It may not look like a bike lane, it may not smell like a bike lane, it may not even be a bike lane.
But if we say it is, will you believe us?
Filed under: Featured Articles
It wasn’t the jersey I really, truly wanted. Every kid in school wore KEMP or PAYTON on his back. I wanted to wear KEMP or PAYTON, too. But I had to settle for McMILLAN. These replica jerseys — watered-down mesh imitations made by Champion — sold for forty dollars at regular price. This particular jersey, bearing the name and number of the team’s most unsung player, was on clearance, and therefore affordable enough to go home with me on this day. Thus, I became the only kid at Medina Elementary with the uniform of one Nate McMillan.
(My little brother, meanwhile, became quite possibly the only kid in history with a Sarunas Marciulionis Sonics’ jersey…it was the only jersey they had on sale in his size.)
I loved that jersey. It was the team’s home jersey. White, with green lettering. Size 40. Number 10. It was big and baggy. It was perfect. I still have it to this day.
It’s just a thing, of course. Material. It could be destroyed in seconds, vaporized into the past tense. Even if that were to occur, however, I’d still remember that day. The day I got the jersey. I’d remember the emotion and the excitement of putting it on for the first time. I’d remember the feeling of pride that overwhelmed me. I’d remember how happy I was. Over something that might not seem like a big deal to many people, but was, and still is, a big deal to me.
It was a cheap article of clothing by any stretch of the imagination. More than that, though, it was a symbol. A symbol of my undying love for a team that I could call my own. Because I watched them on television, because I went to their games, because I pretended to be them at recess. Sure, I had t-shirts and sweatshirts and caps adorned with their logo. But this was a jersey! This was what the Sonics really wore during games! Well…kind of. It was a replica, after all. An inexpensive one, at that. But it didn’t matter. This was my heart and soul, represented through color and clothing.
That’s what David Stern didn’t get when he let Clay Bennett steal our Sonics. He didn’t understand the attachment we had to memories like this. He tried to quantify our passion in terms of revenue figures and arena funding. He failed to realize that none of those things mattered when it came to devotion.
Stern figured that we’d let it go. That we’d stop caring. That the initial wave of anger and disappointment would eventually be replaced by apathy. He couldn’t have been more wrong.
It’s been almost three years now since the Sonics were taken from us. Nobody’s forgotten. Nobody’s moved on. A ton of credit is due, of course, to the good people behind Sonicsgate. They’ve given us a group to rally around in demanding our team be returned to us. They refuse to give up, and in turn, so do we. It’s a battle that won’t cease until our ballclub comes home for good.
Stern isn’t stupid. For as much as we’d like to believe he is, he isn’t. Over the past thirty-four months since our franchise went on vacation, the commissioner has begun to retreat from the harsh criticisms he once directed at our fan base. He’s even gone so far as to admit that Seattle has proven itself worthy of a team and is a market, believe it or not, that deserves the NBA in its own backyard. It’s nice to see the head honcho display some humility, but it’s all posturing. Every warm-blooded Sonics fan would still love to punch that little man square in the jaw. And every one of us knows that we didn’t need to prove anything to be worthy of our team. Our team should never have left in the first place.
The 2011 NBA Playoffs got underway this past week. For the second straight year, our ballclub made the postseason. Only problem is, they weren’t wearing the right jerseys. Blue and orange and stained by the name of a municipality that couldn’t be farther from Seattle. It’s easy to say that should have been us. It’s easy to be upset, and rightfully so. It’s not nearly as easy to accept the fact that the Oklahoma City Thunder are an established power in the league’s Western Conference. To say it hurts would be an understatement.
While we can’t change the present, and as we fondly recall the past, we’re doing everything we can to modify the future on a daily basis. No one has forgotten about us because we refuse to give up. We’re united as a fan base, in spite of the fact that we have no physical entity to cheer for.
No, we’re much different. We’re unique in our own right. A replica Nate McMillan jersey in a sea of Paytons and Kemps.
As every other NBA fan base roots for a team, we root for something else entirely. It’s represented in a green-and-gold logo, in memories, in photos and videos of days gone by. It’s represented in our collective anger, in our continued frustration, in our passion, in our quest for justice. So long as we keep fighting, what we root for now can never be taken from us, no matter the circumstances.
It is immaterial, it is unremitting, it is unattainable to those who don’t believe.
Quite simply, the thing we root for as one, as Sonics fans, is hope.
Filed under: Sonics
For example, today I was playing pickup basketball when a dude that I don’t really know all that well kept fouling me. Every shot I took, he’d run beneath me, undercutting my follow-through so that I landed awkwardly. It’s one of the dirtiest moves in sports. You just don’t undercut people on the basketball court. It’s like hitting below the belt in boxing. It’s a no-no.
It’s not just that he was fouling me today that bugged me. This was the second week in a row that dude had performed these annoyingly dangerous little tactics. I had asked him to stop last week and he didn’t. So this week I didn’t ask him. I just hit him. And I told him never to do it again. Sometimes you just gotta hit people. Let that be a lesson, kids: Always keep it real.
Fact is, I don’t like this guy. He could shake my hand and tell me he’s sorry and I still probably wouldn’t like him. I really hope that every time he walks outside, a condor flies overhead and sh*ts on him. I don’t want horribly bad things to happen to him. Just little, sucky things like that. I can only imagine how sucky getting sh*t on by a condor must be.
Which brings us to Clay Bennett.
(And yes, to be clear, I am lumping the dick that fouled me repeatedly in with Clay Bennett. I dislike him that much. He’s a borderline terrorist.)
Clay Bennett, as you may have heard, was appointed head of the NBA’s relocation committee on Friday by commissioner David Stern. This is essentially like being named head of al Qaeda’s flee-to-the-hills-of-Pakistan committee by Osama bin Laden.
“Uh, okay, so we moving then? To hills of Pakistan? Is that right?”
“I don’t know, ask Clay Bennett, he big boss now.”
(Read with Pakistani accent, for the record.)
Now if you know me, you know I’m big on analogies. Analogizing situations allows one to put things into perspective in a more comprehensible way. So here’s the first analogy that came to my mind when I heard this news.
(Bear with me if this analogy doesn’t float your boat right away. It’ll all tie back together in the end.)
If you’re like me, you read all the Harry Potter books (or, at the very least, saw all the movies). And as you were reading these books, there were points in the story when you became angry. You became angry because grave injustices were being perpetuated upon Harry and his friends. And the story was so well-written that the feeling of helplessness in the face of adversity and malfeasance was transferred unto you, the reader, when, say, Dolores Umbridge was named High Inquisitor at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, for instance.
On Friday, when I heard about Clay, I immediately thought of Dolores Umbridge. Dolores Umbridge and her role as High Inquisitor. Because her circumstances and Clay’s are basically one in the same. Umbridge was a deceptive bitch who was granted near-totalitarian control by an evil regime; Bennett is a deceptive dick who was likewise granted near-totalitarian control by an evil regime. Holy crap! Twins.
If you haven’t read the books yet, then you might not know how this ends. But really, you’ve had plenty of time. So I’ll go ahead and tell you what happens anyway.
In the fifth installment of the Harry Potter series, Umbridge is relieved of her duties as High Inquisitor when she badmouths a group of forest-dwelling centaurs who carry her off into the woods and likely sodomize her.
(The part about sodomy was added by me. We never really find out what happens to Umbridge after the centaurs get a hold of her, though she does resurface alive and well in the seventh and final installment of Harry Potter. But come on. They’re primitive horse-men. What else would they do with her?)
I certainly don’t want to make assumptions or anything, but is there any chance that Bennett ends up better off than Umbridge when all this relocating comes to a halt? I would wager that no, there is not. He may not get kidnapped by centaurs, but he’ll probably go the way of Voldemort and get blown up by a teenaged wizard or something. That said, if you or someone you know has the number for a group of vigilante half-humans/half-broncos, please don’t hesitate to pass it along.
In all seriousness, this appointment is almost laughable. One can hardly fathom a more serendipitous aligning of the stars than this. The king of shady franchise migration named head of the Shady Franchise Migration committee? It’s a match made in heaven.
Long story short, it all boils down to this:
David Stern is evil. Clay Bennett is evil. You want to just hit both of ‘em square in the jaw but you can’t and it blows. They keep fouling, keep undercutting, keep irking you to the point of snapping, but unlike me and dude on the basketball court, there’s nothing you can do about it.
The fact that Bennett has swallowed so much of Stern’s seed over the years probably qualifies him for this all-empowering promotion-of-sorts, but it’s still sucky. There’s no other way to put it. It’s just sucky.
Like getting sh*t on by a condor.
Watch out for big birds, Clay.
Filed under: Sonics
Back in 2006, I was a medical redshirt freshman at the University of Washington (code for, I was in my third of six years as an undergrad). I was in this public speaking class and we were tasked with persuading others to agree with us on a compelling argument of our choosing. At the time, there was quite a bit of hubbub over the Supersonics and their tenancy at soon-to-be-obsolete Key Arena. As an avid sports fan, choosing to discuss this topic made perfect sense to me. The crux of my argument was simple: the citizens of Seattle needed to help generate funding for a new (or renovated) Key Arena based on all the revenue the building — with the Sonics as the primary lessee — brought in.
I wrote up what I felt was a pretty compelling case for my position. I cited plenty of reliable resources, put my passion for the Supes into the speeches I delivered, and absolutely gave the project my all. In turn, I received somewhere around a 2.3 or 2.4 for my efforts.
I wasn’t sad. I wasn’t heartbroken. I was f**kin’ pissed. My TA was an absolute dick. She (yes, she…which goes to show how much of a dick she really was to earn the title of “dick” as a woman) hated sports. It was evident in her disdain for all the athletes in my class. It was evident in her loathing of all the other guys who wrote up topics concerning sports. And perhaps it was most evident in her figure. She was amorphous. Looked like she’d been hounding the doughnuts at the breakfast table. A blob. Ugly.
Now in fairness, I had half-assed my way through college up to that point. I’m a fairly smart individual, but I had zero motivation when it came to school. I skated by, coasted.
But this was different. I put my heart and soul into a project and got shot down. All because this granola-munching hater had no hand-eye coordination and wouldn’t know what to do with a ball if it hit her in the face. She gave every male who had a sports-related topic a crap grade. We all finished within .2 of each other on the GPA scale. It was a conspiracy. And she was the ring leader.
Five years later, I still hold a grudge against this beast of a woman. But at least I can take solace in the fact that I was right and she was wrong.
After the Sonics left town in 2008, the value of Key Arena plummeted. The announcement last week that Key Corporation would be dropping their sponsorship of the former Coliseum only solidified what we already knew: Key Arena, minus the Sonics, is pretty damn worthless.
Further hammering home the point was the fact that Key Corp, which had doled out $1.3 million per year in naming rights fees when the Sonics called the building home, had only been asked to chip in a measly $300,000 annually from 2009 onward. In 2008, Key Arena was considered a financial burden on Seattle with a $75 million debt to its name. Assuming no other net gains were recorded at the facility, and assuming the $300,000 naming rights fee lasted from here until eternity, it would have taken 250 years for the city to pay off their debt on the building with that income. Great f**kin’ plan.
Remember that fateful day when ex-mayor Greg Nickels and his moronic cronies got up in front of the media and announced that they’d “reached a deal” to let the Sonics leave town? They pledged to us that they’d get millions and millions of dollars from Clay Bennett as part of the terms of this supposed buyout, which in turn they would use to pay off Key Arena’s debt. Well guess what? We never saw more than a fraction of the money we were supposed to receive in that deal because the city never could pass legislation to renovate the arena. That was one of the terms of the settlement. We had to approve some sort of plan to renovate Key Arena and only then could we cash in on our wager. We had Bennett at least somewhat cornered and yet we let him off the hook. All because our elected officials suck ass.
The city, of course, will have you believe that Key Arena is thriving in spite of the Sonics currently playing their home games at Oklahoma City’s Ford Center. They’ve released all sorts of documents that propagandize the building’s current “successes.” The venue made more money in 2010 than in 2009, for example. Their current 2011 slate looks promising to the point of out-grossing 2010′s figures, for another. Whatever. It’s all rhetoric. And the money coming in doesn’t even compare to the money being made when the green-and-gold were suiting up 41 times each year and drawing fans on a nightly basis. Oh, by the way. Smucker’s Stars on Ice will be in town on February 25th. Get your tickets now.
So what does all this really boil down to, anyway? Well, I’m glad you asked.
The fact of the matter is this: we were lied to. We were deceived, betrayed, Benedict Arnolded, whatever you want to call it. Our government “leaders” bent us over, sodomized us, then reneged on all the promises they sloppily spit out over the past couple years. Many of us knew at the time that we were being lied to, but now the evidence has come to fruition and there’s no longer any denying that fact. Even the most idiotic, pretentious, douchebaggy, sports-hating hipster would have to agree that this didn’t work out for the best. And yes, idiotic, pretentious, douchebaggy, sports-hating hipster, I still hate you. You helped perpetuate the team’s departure by buying into the untruths that those jerkoff city council members were ejaculating all over your willing face. Grab a towel and wipe the lies off your chin. You look ridiculous.
I suggest we resolve this by loading Nickels into a cannon and launching him into the Pacific Ocean as soon as possible. It sounds ridiculous. It isn’t, really. Humans have been shot out of cannons before. Why Nickels should be any exception to this phenomenon is beyond me.
I also think we should T.P. Nick Licata’s house on a nightly basis. It was councilman Licata, you’ll recall, who said the Sonics had “close to zero” cultural value to the city of Seattle, then basically captained the fight to shoo them off to Oklahoma. We haven’t really heard much talking from Licata since the team left. So at least he’s smart enough to keep his mouth shut when the going gets tough. Dick.
And worst of all, we currently have leaders in place who have distanced themselves entirely from the fight to salvage Key Arena and bring back the Sonics. Don’t think we haven’t noticed that, Mike McGinn. While you’ve been busy blowing tax dollars on bike lanes all over Seattle, the rest of us have been pining for an NBA franchise in this town. You haven’t done jack to make the Coliseum better (I’m just gonna call it the Coliseum from now on, since Key Corp has abandoned us), you haven’t done jack to make Seattle Center better, and you certainly haven’t done jack to return 41 years of professional basketball history to its rightful place in the heart of downtown. You have the chance to be a hero, but so far you’ve been nothing more than a goat. What will your legacy be? Ask yourself that question when you’re cycling down the street one day.
I know some of you are sad the Sonics left two-and-a-half years ago. I know some of you are sad that they’re still gone today. But being sad doesn’t help anything. I wasn’t sad when my TA kicked me in the nuts five years. I was mad as hell. And that’s the way I’ve approached Sonicsgate.
It’s time to end the pity party and start demanding results from the people who we’ve elected to produce results. So far, they haven’t done sh*t. They haven’t made sh*t for money off a Sonics-less Coliseum, they haven’t repaired sh*t on the decaying Coliseum, and they haven’t delivered sh*t on any of the promises they’ve made to us in the past few years. These sh*theads are worthless. And we’re letting ‘em be worthless. That can’t happen. Not in America.
(Cue the Star Spangled Banner and the flag dropping down in the background…okay, we won’t go there. That’s what they’d be expecting, anyway.)
Look. We’ve been f**ked by these jerks. F**ked every which way. They’ve treated us — their constituents, their electors — like cheapo prostitutes.
Enough. We deserve better. We’ve longed for better. We’re not getting better and we’re letting them neglect us of better.
It’s time. Time to f**k these f**kers back.
Stop lying to us. And give us back our Sonics.
*P.S. Alaska Airlines just agreed to pay the University of Washington $700,000 annually for the naming rights to the court inside Hec Edmundson Pavilion. That’s more than twice what Key Corp was paying to sponsor a supposed professional basketball facility.
*P.P.S. The New Orleans Hornets just met critical attendance thresholds that legally obligate them to call the New Orleans Arena home for at least one more year. That leaves the Sacramento Kings as the NBA’s only potential candidate to relocate at season’s end.
*P.P.S. Note the title of the image at the top of this article.
Filed under: Sonics