Thursday, July 3, 2008

Sonics Eulogies

This is making me much sadder than I thought it would. I feel terrible for all the die-hards out there. Being more of a baseball guy myself, I think about how I'd feel if this happened to the Mariners, and I want to cry.

Trying to look on the bright side: We've still got UW, which isn't going anywhere, and Seattle U will be starting up their DI program soon. Garfield High has the amazing Tony Wroten, Jr., quite possibly the best player of his age in the world. So there's plenty of basketball, even if it's not NBA.

And if I must have NBA, I must admit that a part of me is quite happy to tether my fandom to the rising Blazers who--unless there's a divisional realignment between now and October, will have six shots at kicking the living shit out of the Oklahoma City Whatsits next year. I'll be rooting hard for the Blazers in those games, boy...

Percy Allen has the confused and sometimes angry reactions of Sonics players. Jim Moore has reactions from Sonics fans. The Times has an awesome historical photo gallery and the full text of the settlement [pdf].

Here are thoughts from the rest of the earth:

Brian Robinson, SonicsCentral and SaveOurSonics: "I am actually somewhat relieved that at least we do have hope of NBA basketball. Its a slim hope, and the hope of a new team, but it is hope nontheless. At least we are not sitting here with nothing...I’m taking some consolation in this but feel like I need to process the grief a little bit. Everybody will react differently and we need to work through it. Then we’ll regroup. Then we’ll figure out what to do next.

XSteve, SonicsCentral: I sit at this keyboard and find it difficult to type these words. It’s the end of an era...I am fortunate beyond words to share the friendship of the people behind Save Our Sonics and this site. It is a rare thing to see people achieving their dreams through hard work, sacrifice and their passion for this sport...If this sounds like goodbye, it isn’t … time to take a step back. I’m kind of a Renaissance sorta dude, ya know. I like my geeky comics and playing my guitar and other bad habits … I’ll always be there to tip the glass or party with ya at the drop of a hat...Bless you and your families. Right now the world needs moms and dads and brothers and sisters, boyfriends, girlfriends, buddies, homies more than it needs NBA fans.

Mr. Baker, SonicsCentral: We were screwed. That offer was not going to get worse with time, and with a court win, they took money from somebody that has money, but the mayor, Mayor Nickels, said it wasn’t about the money in his testimony; it was about enforcing the lease, and retaining NBA basketball in Seattle; neither happened....I hate Clay Bennett, I watched him lie, and now I watched Mayor Nickels let him get away with it...Thanks to Brian, Steve, Xteve, Grif, everybody that fueled have maintained that it has not, and is not, because of the fans that any of this is happening. The owners, the politicians, and especially the NBA, all have failed you. Shame on them.

Pete Nussbaum, SupersonicSoul: ...a small part of me hoped they wouldn't [move]. That small part of me that scoots to the edge of my seat when the Sonics are involved a close game; that small part that makes me pick up and phone Raf or Paul when the Sonics do something extraordinary; that small part of me that imitates Xavier McDaniel when I'm shooting hoops by myself....After what happened today, that small part of me isn't doing so well right now.

Constable Echelon, Hot Dog & Friends: I’m currently studying a little revolutionary era France. I’ll admit it’s always been a little hard to wrap my head around the idea of a society so unjust that the only recourse for the common man was to take to the streets, round up those responsible, and cut off their heads. I imagine that insatiable bloodlust started with those people feeling like I feel right now.

Brad Cassiday, Seattlest: "Seattlest is sad to see our team leave town. From Downtown Freddie Brown to D.J., to The Glove, to our latest assemblage of "talent," we enjoyed heading down to the Key, pondering how hot Squatch must be in that costume, and gettin' our groove on with the dance team during timeouts. Some will view the news of the settlement as the cup being half empty. Some will view the news as the cup being half full. But, we tend to agree with the late George Carlin: Maybe the glass was just too big.

Bethlehem Shoals, FreeDarko: Seattle didn't have interest in a losing team, especially once Bennett razed it. In OKC, the NBA will be the only show in town (like the Hornets once were). But all those wild crowds were feeding off of what the roving Hornets stood for, the initial novelty, and, oh yeah, Chris Paul. There will be a honeymoon, but if the team sucks or Bennett is an asshole to his own people—that's Charlotte all over again...So congratulations Clay, you stole a team. Now you've got the daunting task of actually running one.

Bob Condotta, Husky Basketball Blog: I took the whole family to the last home game against Dallas in April. We'd never done that before mostly because I have two young boys and it just hadn't seemed time yet. They really enjoyed it and wanted to go back to games next year, a chance they won't have now. They've already asked me who's to blame and I just told them what I really feel ---- everybody involved. They all blew it --- Stern, Schultz, Bennett, Gregoire, Nickels. Anything they say today rings hallow to me.

Derek Zumsteg, USS Mariner: This totally, totally sucks, and there’s so much blame to go around that it’s hard to know where to start. Well, no, actually, you start with Howard Schultz, but you get my point. No one in Seattle, including the other teams, wins here...And you people in Oklahoma City — I would hope you would be appalled enough by this to not participate in this shameful debacle, but I don’t have a lot of faith in that.

Matt Ufford, With Leather: Fuck that lying piece of shit Clay Bennett. Fuck David Stern, that collusive cocksucker. Fuck Howard Schultz for selling the team to Bennett, and fuck Starbucks, too. Fuck Seattle's limp-dick government. Fuck Hurricane Katrina. And fuck Oklahoma fans who get indignant and say that they're more deserving of an NBA team than Seattle, the victim of uncaring ownership and a city whose only crime was not shelling out more tax dollars so a carpetbagging son of a bitch could make more fistfuls of money.

A brand-new site:

Steve Kelley, Seattle Times: "Basketball is dead, and don't look for any miracle resurrections. Chances are good that an entire generation will grow up in this town without the NBA to watch."

Art Thiel, Seattle P-I: As Nickels said on the witness stand during the trial's first day in explaining why he wanted the Sonics to stay two more years, "anything can happen." Apparently, anything included nothing.

John McGrath, Tacoma News Tribune: "As city of Seattle attorney Tom Carr, speaking to KJR a few minutes after the settlement-disclosure press conference, put it: “Having the NBA pleased with you is a lot better than having the NBA mad at you.”...In other words, suck it up, and try to consider David Stern less as the czar of an evil empire than a friend of the disenfranchised....Just a hunch, but I’m predicting an NBA team calling itself the Sonics tipping off at KeyArena for the 2011-12 season."