let me rant a bit and then please give me your own perspective
i have followed the sonics since the mid 70s. spencer haywood and slick watts were like demi-gods to me
i used to go to games as a kid and wait for autographs of the even obscure players before and after the games. players like tab skinner, leonard gray, tom burleson, jim fox, dick gibbs
the whole city celebrated our only championship in 1979 when i was a sophomore in hs. it was a source of civic pride for us all
many of the hardcore fans stayed with the team throughout the 80s. although most were lean years, we were excited that the team played over their heads and reached the conference finals in 1987. ellis, x-man, and chambers all averaged over 20 ppg but we ran into the lakers at their peak
the resurgence of the team and the success of the 90s with gp and the man-child of shawn kemp was fabulous. the fair weathered fans jumped back on the sonic bandwagon and it was a good ride
i still believe that if george karl put gp on mj for games one-three of the '96 series, the outcome would have been different and the sonics could have very well won the series against the bulls
then the decline...
namely, howard shultz
i respect his business ability to spread the starbucks "experience" throughout the world and somehow help people believe that it is a good thing to pay $4.00 for a cup of java. good marketing creates perceived desires/needs and shultz masterfully exploited all of us with the explosion of starbucks everywhere
i do not respect his ignorance of the difference of owning an nba franchise from just being a business venture. it was disingenuous of him to keep complaining that the team was in the red every year, knowing full full well that the overall value of the team increases yearly.
i do not respect the way he treated our all time best player: gary payton. gp was a lifelong sonic and should have retired from the team and then played a major role on staff.
(in the same breathe, i have no problem saying that i did enjoy ray allen's time with the team)
i do not respect how shultz sold out the team to a guy from oklahoma knowing full well the consequences-- the guy could very well move the sonics out of seattle
the bottom line of $$$ was shultz's primary concern
the building of a new arena was the main issue; who would pay for it was the sticking point. the city really framed the issue around it being corporate welfare: the city would foot the bill; the owner would reap the fruits
part of it all was bad timing. the city already built safeco and qwest fields for the mariners and seahawks. plus the sonics non playoff years of late (except for the great run in 2005), didnt inspire the locals much
we have been stuck in mud since the sale: the city not giving bennett what he wants and bennett knowing that okc will welcome him and the team with open arms. there is no urgency to drastically negotiate on either side
since the sale most sonics fans have distanced themselves from the team. watching the games but guarding our hearts
its kind of like going to a dance with a great gal, but knowing that after the final song, she will be going off to college: no relationship will follow
it especially hurts when we just landed a potential mega-superstar in durant and the rebuilding is set looking at three years down the road
at this point, i think i will cheer for the sonics where ever they are at. i have too much heart invested into the team; if they change locales and change the name of the team, i will probably feel differently
i have suggested (to no one in particular) that the city should negotiate to keep the name "supersonics" (like cleveland kept the name "browns" when that team left) for future consideration if we get a team back (like charlotte did).
oklahoma would prefer to have their own unique name and then market it-- isnt what this is all really about: the way big money trumps everything else-- even the 40 year history of the sonics in seattle
i would be interested in hearing your thoughts on the previous reflections