Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Sonics move to Oklahoma
Yesterday Oklahoma played their first game outside of Seattle in a Summer League contest. Never mind the 95-78 loss to the Pacers just like that Seattle a town rich in Hoops history but unlike Oakland also had to deal with the fact that the Sonics were also the 3rd most popular team behind the seahawks and Mariners who unlike the Sonics had no problems getting new teams as judged by the fact they were ranked a dismal 28th in the ESPN NBA Attendences record. Of course the irony of all this was the last game the Sonics played when they were still in Seattle was a 126-121 win over the Warriors. No doubt the Sonics move is the greatest scandal in NBA history not Donaghy, not the Brawl at the Palace, not even the Fisher Flop, but the death of the Seattle Supersonics.
Much like the way the Colts were dangled from Baltimore Seattle were torn from a city with 40 years of history that still wanted. Fortunately Seattle keeps the team record so that the famous memories of the Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton and the 1979 Championship will not be taken away. But unlike some cities credit should go to Seattle for holding firm on it's arena demands believing the money could be better spent elsewhere. . I love Golden State but even I would doubt spending the planned millions on say if the Oracle arena was to be rennovated would take priority over the welfare of a city. Unforuntately thats what Seattle was doing.
But as demonstrated should the Warriors move to St Louis or any other City without an NBA team the passions of the Warriors for me would dissolve. The team would become no longer a daily fabric of my life. Much like other entertainment a team is just something you watch as part of a fun. You go to the Arena have a fun time, and forget about them when they leave. Sport teams are entertaiment but with the expansion and departure owners are now convincing us that there's simply more to it then that. By endorsing affairs like the Sonics’ departure, they risk bursting that bubble — not just for Sonics’ fans, but for the league as a whole and as a result create unwarranted paranoia.
For me the main culprit in all this is Starbucks owner Schultz. Even though he's one of the richest people in the US he simply sold the Sonics because they were losing money because of the low attendences Key Arena was getting. Obviously thats not a problem no businessman would keep a Franchise that was making a loss but with the benfit of hindsight did he actually believe Bennett would keep the team in Seattle rather then sell to a local businessman who had better intention. That was the killer for Seattle fans.
And lastly this team will do great in Oklahoma. Using NFL examples the Ravens a few years after playing in Cleveland won the Superbowl as well as the St Louis Rams (Played in Los Angeles). Moreover, the NBA has been quite successful in markets where they are the only game in town, such as Portland, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and Orlando.
Here's hoping that never happens to Golden State anyway!