The Oklahoma City Thunder just won a playoff series for the first time in their brief, three-year history, and I’d like to take this opportunity to pay proper homage to their enormous accomplishment. Congratulations, f**kers. You earned it. Kind of.
You know what, it’s about time we took out some venom on OKC. We’ve spent all this time blaming Clay Bennett, blaming David Stern, blaming Howard Schultz. Why not let the benefactors of Seattle’s greatest heist have it for once, right?
First of all, Oklahoma City, you’ve got nothing on Seattle. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. Let me ask you a question. Does anyone in that town of yours even play basketball? Anybody? Because in Seattle, we play on asphalt monuments emblazoned with the logo of OUR TEAM all over the city.
From White Center to Everett, Bellevue to Bainbridge, Greenlake to Queen Anne, there are courts with the sacred emblem of the Seattle Supersonics dotting every neighborhood where every boy and every girl, every man and every woman, every adult and every child who owns a ball, who adores that ball, who bounces that ball with the rhythmic cadence of a beating heart, can go hoop whenever he or she wants to. I’ve seen those courts. I’ve played on those courts. You respect those courts. Those courts mean something because of that logo. You win on that logo, you bleed on that logo, you break ankles on that logo, you hit buckets on that logo, you live on that logo, you breathe on that logo. That logo represents passion, it represents history, it represents a champion. It represents the wound that won’t heal until our team — the team YOU took from us — is returned to its rightful location. That logo is the soul of our city. You know nothing about that logo. You stole that logo. You tried to kill that logo. But that logo still exists. That logo thrives.
This town is basketball. Our best five will beat the best five in any other city in America on any day of the week. No doubt at all. We know, because our best five frequent the gyms and the playgrounds that every ballplayer in this town frequents. We know, because Seattle is a community of ballers that laces up year-round. We put on Nikes and Jordans and Adidases and Reeboks and And-Ones and we run. We run on concrete, on asphalt, on wood, on carpet, on dirt, on grass, on linoleum, on stone. We run until the lights go out. Indoors, outdoors, doesn’t matter. We run in cold, in heat, in rain, in snow. We run because we love the game. And the game is ingrained in the very fabric of our existence because of one team that we grew up with. One team that was taken from us.
We have a building that wasn’t good enough. With banners that don’t hang in the rafters anymore. With ugly red seats that any one of us wouldn’t mind sitting in on a winter’s evening. Where we’d fall in love with our future husbands and wives, where we’d buy our kids foam fingers and cotton candy, where we’d wear oversized green-and-gold jerseys and scream at men in stripes and cheer the simplicity of a round object ripping nylon and a scoreboard that confirmed to us that we, Seattle, were superior on that particular day. We’d do anything for that. We’d kill for that.
You know, that’s all we really want. I’d like to think that we’re not that different from you, but we are. We are. Because I can’t think of one city in the history of modern American sports that has cared this much. That has been so absolutely devastated by the loss of a franchise. And really, franchise isn’t even the right word. Family might be better. Foundation, even. But not franchise. The Sonics were more than that to the city of Seattle. The Sonics are more than that to the city of Seattle.
We don’t expect you to understand. We don’t expect you to see eye-to-eye with us, or sympathize with us, or even hear us. We’re nothing to you. Just like you’re nothing to us. We don’t share a team. We don’t share a history. The team belongs to you now. The history will always belong to us.
They say it’s a business, that this sort of thing will happen, that money drives everything, that you’re just as deserving as we are to have a basketball team in your town. F**k that. It doesn’t get said often enough, so I’ll be the one to say it: we deserve it more than you. We do.
You can have the body but you’ll never have the soul. The soul lives here. In Seattle. On our courts, in our logo, in our hearts. A team — OUR team — fell into your laps. You don’t deserve it. You didn’t earn it. You can’t live and die with it. You can’t bleed with it, breathe with it. This is your commodity. This is our passion.
These are our Sonics. This is Seattle.