Save the Sonics: A long-time overseas fan rantPosted by Inside Hoops
By DJ Leon Smith
I’ve been a Seattle Supersonics fan pretty much since I’ve been a basketball fan. Back to the days of Michael Cage, watching them draft Shawn Kemp, the first-round heartbreak against the Denver Nuggets, the 1996 NBA Finals… everything. Now, their new owner Clay Bennett, wants to move them to his hometown of Oklahoma City, after essentially holding the team to ransom against the city of Seattle. He wants the city to build a half-a-BILLION dollar stadium, when they built built a new stadium in 1995 and the city has offered to pay for upgrades to the Key Arena. Oh by the way, and the stadium in Oklahoma City is far worse and holds less people than Seattle’s Key Arena.
The worst part about the whole deal? David Stern has sided with Bennett and is letting the whole thing happen - even though one of Bennett’s partners, Aubrey McClendon, admitted they bought the team purely to move them (very smart move, since Seattle is the 14th largest market in the US and OKC is the 45th, meaning less profits for the league and other team owners if the Sonics are moved) after Bennett had been saying for months that they want to keep the team in Seattle and are doing their best to keep them there. McClendon also admitted they don’t mind if the team loses more money in OKC than in Seattle, as long as the team is moved there. This should have been a deal-breaker in itself.
Essentially, because Stern and Bennett are old buddies, he’s prepared to lose millions of dollars and alienate the entire city of Seattle (and every rational NBA fan) by letting them move the team. I’m not even from Seattle, so I’d like to think I’m in an even better position to comment on this because I’m not blinded emotionally by city loyalties, but anyone with half a brain can see this whole situation reeks.
DJ Leon Smith is one of Australia’s top DJs and basketball journalists. He’s worked with artists including Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Jon and Usher and has also written for every Australian basketball publication and several US magazines, including SLAM and XXL. You can visit him on MySpace here or check out his blog here.