At first glance, it looks like some copy editor is trolling Sonics fans on the sports front of the
Tri-City Herald in Kennewick, Wash. But then you get to that subhead, and the intention becomes perfectly obvious. It’s been four years since the Sonics packed up and left for the Great Plains, and it’s still too soon.
Tonight the NBA Finals begin in Oklahoma City, where the Thunder will be hosting the Miami Heat. (Pointless factoid: It’s the first championship series in any major professional sport featuring two teams named after weather phenomena. It’s also the first time in history where neither team’s nickname has ended in “s.” Like I said, it’s pointless.)
Not so very long ago, the Oklahoma City Thunder were the Seattle Supersonics. Then Clay Bennett, a native Oklahoman who’d purchased the team from Seattle native and Starbucks CEO, moved the Sonics to Oklahoma City. Bennett made a show of saying the Sonics were leaving Seattle because of the city’s refusal to provide the team with a new arena, but the more justifiably suspicious in Seattle had seen the betrayal coming since Bennett came on the scene. They know the fix was in as soon as Bennett bought the team. The ire of Sonics fans should justifiably be directed at NBA Commissioner David Stern, who stood mutely by while Bennett attempted to extort Seattle before ultimately skulking off to Oklahoma City.
By all rights, Games One and Two of the NBA Finals should be played in Seattle. The Sonics didn’t leave town because of diminished fan support; they left because a greedy owner felt he’d make more money in Oklahoma City…and he may well be correct. The Thunder have been fabulously successful, with a new arena, a talented collection of young athletes, and tremendous fan support. Then again, it’s Oklahoma City…and have you ever been to Oklahoma? Besides being one of the most homogenous and intolerantly Jesus-y places I’ve ever been, I’ve always thought of Oklahoma in the way Gertrude Stein used to describe Oakland- “There’s no there there.”
I have friends in Seattle, so I’m not about to make light of their pain…especially since I can relate.
In 1993, the Minnesota North Stars, the NHL team I’d worshipped as a kid, moved to Dallas after having been in Minnesota since 1967. In 1999, the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup, something that had eluded my North Star during their 26 seasons. I tried hard to gin up some excitement- after all, my team had just won the Stanley Cup. Except that it wasn’t my team. Not in Dallas. Not even when I was living in Houston and I was actually able to watch more Dallas Stars games on TV than I’d been able to see when they were in Minnesota.
Yeah, I can feel the pain of Sonics fan, because, even after all these years, and even after his passing…
NORM GREEN STILL SUCKS!!