Tag Archives: Sonicsgate

The NBA Wants You to Kiss Its Ass

Fuck the NBA.

Those homewrecking charlatans. Those self-indulgent jerks. Those bastard sons of bitches.

We were in a relationship once, you know. For 41 years. Happily married. We entrusted them with our hearts and our souls. And then one day they ripped them to shreds.

But they didn’t just stop there.

The divorce was bitter. They took everything and left us with nothing but memories. They had all they needed, but still wouldn’t quit. They spun a dirty narrative: that we weren’t any good to them, that we didn’t do enough to keep them around, that it was our fault, that we were the bad guys.

What had we done besides faithfully devote ourselves to them? We showed up en masse, filled an arena to its gills, lived and died through the good seasons and the bad. They weren’t satisfied with leaving, though. They needed the rest of the world to scorn us, too.

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Thank You, Chris

chrishansenWith 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.

Keeping the Faith

sonicsI 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.

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We Deserve Our Sonics

Retro005The 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!”


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Four Years, Two Months, and Nine Days

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.

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F**k You, Thundah!

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.

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