I know how you feel, Sonics fans. I feel the exact same way. We’re frustrated, exhausted, angry, disappointed, all of the above. Why should we care about the NBA anymore? Why should we give a damn about David Stern and his godforsaken league? All valid questions. All valid reasons to walk away from this situation that won’t seem to find its happy ending.
Frankly, it would be easier to quit at this point then continue investing our energy in a dream that may never become a reality. It would be easier to throw our hands up, turn our backs on the Association, and be done with pro basketball altogether.
But what would that say about us? What would that say about the legacy of the hope we’ve kept alive all this time, this flame we’ve kept burning, this battle from which we’ve never backed down? Did Benny Rodriguez stop running when The Beast chased him? Did Frodo abort the journey to Mordor when he got tired? Did Phil, and Stu, and Alan give up when they were handed Black Doug in the middle of the Nevada desert? No, no, and no. There is no quit here. Now is not the time to stop fighting.
In all seriousness, and before we go any further, a reminder: The decision made yesterday by the NBA owners, the decision to deny the relocation of the Sacramento Kings, was wholly anticipated. Sure, we hoped that the owners would find it in their hearts (e.g. wallets) to allow the Kings to migrate north to Seattle, but we knew that result wasn’t likely. Ultimately, our suspicions were correct and relocation was voted down. Seattle’s prospective ownership group invested a ton in pushing for the move and sale of the Kings — money, time, resources, all of that. Likewise, Seattle fans like you and I invested a great deal of energy and emotion. It’s not easy to get rejected upon investing so much. But it happens. And now we need to move on.
There’s a future here. In order to embrace that future, we need to remain committed for the long haul. Yes, we had the Kings situation fall in our lap rather quickly amidst all this madness that commenced when Chris Hansen voiced his initial intention to purchase an NBA team. But that’s just one opportunity. It appears today that that opportunity may not come to be. Think of it like dating. You aren’t necessarily going to find your true love on your very first date. There’s an investment of time and emotion, not unlike the investment we’ve made to this basketball team of ours, that requires a certain amount of patience and resolve. We dated the Kings. We need to date someone else now.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that Hansen and his ownership group have agreed to with King County and the City of Seattle allows for a five-year term in which a new arena can be built in Seattle’s SODO district. That term elapses in September, 2017, which essentially gives Hansen, et al, a little longer than four years to secure an NBA franchise. Per the terms of the MOU, once an NBA franchise is secured, ground can be broken on the construction of the new arena. That gives us our most important asset: time. We have time on our side. Time to find another existing team on the auction block, time to engage in expansion talks with the league, time to figure everything out. If nothing else, we have that.
Beyond a MOU and 50-some-odd months in our pocket, we should have more reasonable power players to deal with in the coming months. The hated Stern is on his way out, retiring in February. In his stead, the NBA’s new commissioner will be the seemingly more affable Adam Silver, who went so far as to profess his desire to bring basketball back to Seattle during yesterday’s press conference following the owners meeting. Who knows for sure if Silver will act upon his declarations, but just knowing his predecessor is out of the picture is encouraging. David Stern hates Seattle and we, in turn, hate him. Having that evil little bastard depart for old age can only make the prospect of a Sonics return much more viable going forward.
Power players aren’t just limited to the NBA, however. In Seattle, the political charge is spearheaded by Mayor Mike McGinn and County Executive Dow Constantine. With these two individuals working hand-in-hand with Hansen’s group, the climate around a Sonics return will always be favorable. It should be noted that 2013 is an election year, though. To ensure a continued favorable political climate, it wouldn’t hurt to cast a vote for our friends in office. But hey, don’t let me influence you or anything.
Finally, we have us, the fans. We’re as critical to the future of the Sonics as anyone with billion dollar bankrolls or governmental wherewithal. It’s up to us to keep the nation aware of our existence, to remind the NBA what they lost when they let Clay Bennett march into town, deceive everyone, and steal our team. We need to keep sporting the green-and-gold colors, keep rocking the gear, keep reminiscing about the greatness that was 41 years of local basketball history. Without the fans, without our spirit, the Seattle Supersonics are nothing more than a fading memory. We are responsible for keeping hope alive. I implore you to not give up.
This will happen. The Sonics will return. There is no doubt in mind. Keep fighting the good fight, sports fans. Our day will come soon and when it does, all of this will be worth it.
Forever and always, Go Sonics.