This has been a sad past week for me. The passing of comedian George Carlin, artist Michael Turner and now the official announcement that the Sonics are leaving Seattle. Going into the trail the city swore up and down that it was not about money and about keeping the team in Seattle. What happened is the Sonics (the name and history stays) are leaving to Oklahoma City and the city gets $45 million dollars as compensation. A lot of the things that were discussed my Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels doesn't make sense, or at least I don't buy it. I will use the help of the Seattle times to keep my facts straight.
"Nickels said the NBA agreed that a renovated KeyArena would be suitable to support a new team. However, the mayor said the state Legislature must pass a funding bill next year to help pay for the improvements."
This won't happen. They brought this same funding proposal to the state elgislature already to increase taxes for a new $300 million arena. To no one's surprise it was rejected. This was when we still had a team. Now your are telling me that we have to get it approved when we don't have a team and there are "no promises" said Nickels.
The other part I don't trust is NBA Commish David Stern. He's a shady guy. He's been in favor of the Sonics moving to OKC from the start. He got nasty when the City rejected the proposal for the tax increase and said essentially that if the Sonics leave, it's our fault and we wont get another team in the future. In Stern's press release on NBA.com he says "the NBA would be happy to return to the City of Seattle.” Oh course he has to say it, but everyone knows it's not true. He knows the city will never approve the tax increase.
Jeeze, all this ranting and bitching and I haven't even gotten to Clay Bennett, the Sonics owner who moved the team. Public enemy #1 in the minds of Sonic fans. We all know he has gray hair, especially within the last year. You're not fooling anyone bubba. I just hope that former Sonic Owner Howard Shultz is successfull in his lawsuit in keeping the team here. Shultz (gulp) is our last hope. He sold the team to Bennett with the intentions that he would keep the team in Seattle. We all know what happened now, so Shultz is suing to make the contract void and have the Starbucks CEO regain the ownership back to him so he could resell the team to real local owners and not some slick cowboy with bags of money from Oklahoma City.
Finally, it doesn't make in sense that the NBA would be all for the move (I know it was approved by the other team owners), because OKC is a smaller market than Seattle. Smaller population, smaller income, smaller everything. What crazy logic does that make?
I feel a little better getting some of this off my chest but still it won't fill the void during the Fall, Winter and Spring watching the Sonics regardless of how good they are. Can we at least have a camera set up in a vault pointed at the $45 million the city got in the settlement in place of the games that should have been on TV please?
I will always have the great memories of going to Sonic games with family and friends. The very first game I ever went to was special. I was in 8th grade and our little basketball league on Whidbey Island got to play our All star game at the old Seattle Center coliseum. We got to play on the actual Sonic court, and use the visiting team locker room. FYI, I had 6 points and 1 steal in the game. Then that night all of my teammates and me got to watch the game vs the Philadelphia 76ers from the nose bleeds. It was a 40 point Sonic blowout and we enjoyed every minute of it. I can only hold onto the slightest of hope that one day the city of Seattle will get a team again.
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