What a fiasco. There’s plenty of blame to go around for the Seattle SuperSonics’ move to Oklahoma City. How does a team that went to the NBA Finals in 1996 leave town just a decade later? Should the blame go to Sonics owner Clay Bennett, an Oklahoma millionaire who bought the Sonics, pledged to keep the team in Seattle, and then made a half-hearted attempt to work with the City of Seattle to keep them there? Should blame go to the City of Seattle, which renovated the Seattle Center years ago into the smallest arena in the NBA, then balked on expanding it or building a new arena, and let the Sonics walk away for $90 million in cash? (Where is Slade Gordon when you need him?) Or should it go to NBA Commissioner David Stern and the NBA owners who voted with their pocket books and moved yet another franchise to another small U.S. city a la the Memphis Grizzlies? All of them should share in the blame. Special mention goes to Mayor Greg Nickles, yet another of a long line of subpar Seattle mayors who can’t figure out how to turn Seattle into a world class city because they’re too busy spending money on studying problems. The 2012 Olympics, ghost freeway ramps, the Monorail, the Seattle Commons, the Seattle Viaduct, airport expansion, Boeing’s empty, former headquarters building, the NASCAR speedway, the 520 bridge, the overpriced light rail line that terminates one mile short of the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Heaven forbid if anyone from Seattle is ever elect to a national office. The entire country would be like, well, Seattle. Dysfunctional and bumping along because Microsoft hasn’t left town.
Seattle can spend another decade and millions of dollars trying to woo another NBA franchise, and the NBA can lose out on television revenues from the nation’s 12th largest viewing market. The only winner in this deal is Oklahoma City basketball fans. Enjoy the Sonics. Hold on to them; fill Ford Center even when the Sonics remain sub-.500 year after year. Or you too will suffer the same fate a la the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets (which almost moved to OKC).
Well, at least there’s the Mariners. No wait, they’re in the cellar. Seahawks? Huskies? Who knows. It’s a tough time to be a Seattle fan. I predicted several years ago that the Seattle would not win another championship in any sport for decades. Looks more prescient by the day.