And the Sonics are out

DMZ · July 2, 2008 at 5:42 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Seattle settled, team leaving.

We haven’t said much at all about this, in large part because on non-Mariner or baseball issues, we pretty much stay quiet, and we didn’t have anything insightful to add. But 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.


90 Responses to “And the Sonics are out”

  1. DMZ on July 2nd, 2008 8:07 pm

    Fucking Stern.

  2. cdowley on July 2nd, 2008 8:09 pm

    Don’t blame you Derek. This has been a whale on all of us involved in this…

  3. The Beer Baron on July 2nd, 2008 8:10 pm

    Stern makes Bud Selig look like God.

  4. Benne on July 2nd, 2008 8:11 pm

    Amen Derek. I would rather have Bud Selig’s bumbling incompetence over Stern’s arrogance and shit-eating grin. He’s the biggest douchebag in all of sports.

  5. BaltimoreDave on July 2nd, 2008 8:12 pm

    The more I read about this, the more this looks like a really, really dangerous precedent that no professional sports league should want to set.

  6. Benne on July 2nd, 2008 8:14 pm

    In terms of “messy franchise/city divorces”, I think this ranks right up there with the Baltimore Colts and Cleveland Browns ditching town. But at least those cities got teams again. Maybe the Expos.

  7. coffee on July 2nd, 2008 8:15 pm

    I moved to OKC 7 years ago after spending most of my life in Seattle. I grew up a Sonics fan and have never stopped being a fan no matter how bad they were or where I lived. My love for the Sonics is much like my love for the Mariners – no matter what, I will always be a fan.

    But as a Sonics fan I can honestly say that I will never buy a ticket to an OKC basketball game, never buy any memorabilia, or support the team in any way.

    The team that will be here is not going to be the Seattle SuperSonics. The team I grew up watching and loved will always be in Seattle.

    It’s a very sad day for a life-long Seattle sports fan who just happens to be displaced to this hell hole. I am sickened by the news coverage on a daily basis and the attitude of the people who live here. I hate it when people ask me “What do you think about the Sonics situation” and I give them my answer. Then they are shocked by what they hear? These are people who will never understand what the city of Seattle is losing and what the true fans are going through.

    Here is hoping the Seattle SuperSonics are not gone forever.

  8. bratman on July 2nd, 2008 8:16 pm

    Although they had a powerful legal position in the language of the arena lease, mayor Greg Nickels and the Seattle City Council somehow reached the conclusion that $45 million was preferable to two years of lame-duck, NBA basketball and $11 million in rent from Bennett. Most legal experts agree that the city would have prevailed and could have held the team in Seattle for two years.

    Nickels and the city hope that Seattle will somehow qualify for another NBA franchise. But, after arguing that no sum of money could replace two years of Sonics basketball, they gave away their team for a modest sum of money. It will become more of a political issue than a legal issue as Nickels and the council members face re-election.

    How dumb is Nickels? Who did this stupid city elect?

  9. DMZ on July 2nd, 2008 8:16 pm

    Stern… the thing that absolutely pisses me off is the whole Key Arena thing, when he totally dismissed the fact that we spent a half gazillion dollars rebuilding that thing to their spec not that long ago, as if that wasn’t even part of —

    know what? I’m going to stop now, because I’m getting really angry again.

  10. BaltimoreDave on July 2nd, 2008 8:18 pm

    And to this day many Baltimoreans spit at the sight of a Mayflower truck…

    But, wow – the ransom payment essentially allows any team to buy their way to any other city for the right fee. The NBA, and any other pro sports league for that matter, should be fighting that not aiding and abetting it.

  11. Benne on July 2nd, 2008 8:19 pm

    Wikipedia has a pretty good summary of the whole mess.

  12. OppositeField on July 2nd, 2008 8:23 pm

    As a sports fan, it just shakes me to my core. What is the point of investing so much time, money, and emotion in this stuff if it can just be snatched away like this? What does it make of my memories of being at the NBA Finals with my dad? Seeing Gary and Shawn go up against Scottie and MJ. That team doesn’t exist anymore. The fans who, in the arena that is now apparently too outdated to make money, cheered so loud during the announcement of the starting lineups that you couldn’t hear the PA. Here’s a youtube video of it:

    Listen to the f*cking place. Listen to that. It breaks my heart.

  13. bratman on July 2nd, 2008 8:27 pm
  14. cdowley on July 2nd, 2008 8:28 pm

    I remember that night like it was yesterday… I was only ten years old, and I was so excited I couldn’t talk for days after that game.

    Thanks for reminding me of one very pleasant memory tonight OppositeField 🙂

  15. sealclubber253 on July 2nd, 2008 8:29 pm

    DMZ, I will let you know when I get tickets for the first Blazers/OKC game. I will buy the tickets, you get the green and yellow body paint. Seriously.

  16. bratman on July 2nd, 2008 8:30 pm

    62 – Unbelievable footage.

    Someone needs to tape stern, schultz, bennett and nickels down to watch that.

  17. BaltimoreDave on July 2nd, 2008 8:30 pm

    Another reason to like Mark Cuban – he was one of only 2 NBA owners (Paul Allen was the other) to vote against the move.

  18. sealclubber253 on July 2nd, 2008 8:31 pm

    Stern does have to be the worst figure in sports. There is so many problems with with the players off the court, the rumors of refs betting and throwing games, and now this. Put him on a raft and set him a sail.

  19. cdowley on July 2nd, 2008 8:34 pm

    Stern does have to be the worst figure in sports. There is so many problems with with the players off the court, the rumors of refs betting and throwing games, and now this. Put him on a raft and set him a sail.

    Eff the sail. Make the little prick paddle with his hands. In a sea of full of sharks and piranhas…

  20. sealclubber253 on July 2nd, 2008 8:36 pm

    [that’s it for you]

  21. OppositeField on July 2nd, 2008 8:37 pm

    Everyone, everyone, everyone, needs to watch that video. And crank the volume. It gives me chills and nearly brings me to tears every time. When the PA introduces the “Seattle SUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUPERSONICS” and the ENTIRE crowd is screaming “SUUUUUUUUUU” along with him, it’s just transcendent.

  22. vitalogist on July 2nd, 2008 8:41 pm

    that put tears in my eyes. thanks for sharing.

  23. Benne on July 2nd, 2008 8:43 pm

    That video gives me chills. It’s kinda sad how the rest of the nation generally ignores Seattle sports–when our teams are doing well, few other fanbases are as rabid as we are. Go to Qwest Field if you need further proof.

  24. crazyray7391 on July 2nd, 2008 8:50 pm

    I’ve never been much of a Sonics fan, but watching that video brought tears to my eyes. There are plenty of people out there that care as much about the Sonics as I do for the M’s. Those are the people that really got shit-on here. You can blame individuals all you want, they are all guilty here, but the fact that nobody gave a shit about the fans is the biggest problem to me.

    Bennett didn’t care, Schultz didn’t care, Stern didn’t care, the list could go on. Then, the mayor of Seattle wants to stand at the podium and crack a couple jokes while saying, “this is a sad day for everybody.” Sure didn’t seem like a sad day for him. He got his money, and was able to throw out there that there is a “chance” that we could have another team in the next 5 years, but the fans need to help to keep the team here. Seriously, the only group who hasn’t done anything wrong during this whole ordeal is the fans. So don’t stand up there with your bags of money and put this on the fans, the fans have been there all along. The fans don’t NEED to do shit, but they will, because they love their basketball. KJR today threw out that the Sonics averaged over 13,000 for attendance this last season. That was better than Memphis, and I think another team or two and only 800 less people per game than New Orleans. Don’t say that the fans have to do anymore, it’s not the fans fault, that’s just a crock of shit.

    I hope that there really will be an effort made to get Key Arena upgraded, and I hope that if that happens, that weasel David Stern lives up to his word and puts Seattle at the top of the list, but forgive me if I’m not totally enthusiastic that it will happen.

    As for the Sonics fans, we all feel for you.

  25. cody on July 2nd, 2008 8:50 pm

    62-Absolutely surreal.

    I’m not that much of a basketball guy, so I don’t have as much of a connection to the Sonics. But I’m still angry at how this whole thingg was handleded. Honestly, between the Bad News Mariners and the Sonics leaving, this could go down as one of the worst sports years for a city (and regoin) in recent memory. The Sonics were Seattle’s oldest big time sports team. This sucks all around.

  26. vitalogist on July 2nd, 2008 8:57 pm

    Maybe #8 can leave the hometown 11 to a title in 2008 for holmgren’s last stand, 75.

    We can dream, right? God, is it september yet?

  27. scott19 on July 2nd, 2008 9:10 pm

    Another reason to like Mark Cuban – he was one of only 2 NBA owners (Paul Allen was the other) to vote against the move.

    Not surprised by Cuban also being a pissed-off camper as well…after all, he’s only losing a pretty good chunk of both gate and TV revenues the Mavs were getting out of that part of their fan base in Okie-homa.

    Stern makes Bud Selig look like God.

    Whether it’s Stern, Selig, Gary Bettman, or whatever other a$$clown who calls himself a professional sports “commissioner”, they all seem to be cut from the same sorry, corrupt piece of cloth. >:(

  28. kevlar on July 2nd, 2008 9:19 pm

    65- This needs to happen

  29. daveblev on July 2nd, 2008 9:36 pm

    “So you can’t blame jazz musicians/or David Stern with his NBA fashion issues.” – from the new song “NBA Is Dead In Seattle” by Nas.

    Stern irritates me…i couldn’t believe how much Clay Bennett sucked up to him in that email apologizing for Aubrey McClendon’s comment.

    With the Sonics out of Seattle, I will no longer care about the NBA, oh I’m looking for a “sweet flip” to be a fan of another team. Maybe if Norfolk gets a team, but that will never happen unless Virginia Squires and ABA return. I am kind of wondering if I shall become a fan of the

    So the biggest question looming is what happens to Squatch now?? Is the pro-soccer team interested?

  30. cdowley on July 2nd, 2008 9:41 pm

    79 – I’d become a huge Sounders fan in a heartbeat if Squatch became their mascot.

  31. matthew on July 2nd, 2008 10:02 pm

    A devastating day in the life of a Seattle sports fan 🙁

  32. jro on July 2nd, 2008 10:04 pm

    It’s a shame it had to happen to us, but Napoleon Stern will get his due after about 3 years of the OKC Stuper-Sonics. When the league is reeling due to its bad business model, the fingers will be levied at Stern. Big prediction: this move will be marked as a defining moment in the decline of the NBA (and Stern) as we know it.

    Stern takes a team from a market much more sizable and valuable than New Orleans and puts them in a market less sizable and valuable than New Orleans? One that’s geographically near the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs? And the Hornets are a team that went deep into the playoffs.

    Another prediction: we’ll have a shot at more than one franchise within five years because other towns are having trouble meeting Stern’s dumb-ass business model. Frying pan, meet fryer.

  33. Breadbaker on July 2nd, 2008 10:28 pm

    Stern screams that the revamped KeyArena idea is a non-starter, but when his buddy Bennett gets what he wants, suddenly a revamped KeyArena would be just fine for another team. Right.

    As to Memphis, they stole the Grizzlies, I don’t see that they have any moral superiority here if they can’t support their team. Same with New Orleans, which not only stole the Hornets, but did so with the most obnoxious lease guaranty possible. It’s like Baltimore losing the Colts and stealing the Browns. After awhile, it’s all fair game.

  34. whiskeychainsaw on July 2nd, 2008 10:57 pm


  35. Axtell on July 2nd, 2008 11:06 pm

    [conspiracy theory]

  36. aaron c. on July 2nd, 2008 11:07 pm

    It’s been a while since I’ve been an NBA fan. Baseball has pretty much taken over my life these last ten years, and whit little energy I have left is dedicated to the Seahawks. With that being said, I have a lot of friends who love the Sonics as much as I love the Mariners. And even though I was just a little kid, I remember how much the Sonics teams of the Payton/Kemp/Karl years meant to me. I remember waking up early on a Saturday morning to hear the debut of “Not In Our House” on KUBE 93.3. I remember sobbing uncontrollably while I watched Dikembe Mutombo celebrate what was at that time the most improbable comeback in professional sports history. I remember knowing that the 1996 team didn’t have a chance in the world of beating the Bulls, but not caring in the least and screaming my head off the whole way through the series. Despite the fact that the Mariners became my one true love, the Sonics were the first team I ever felt connected to, and in many ways, the first thing that made me feel at home in the Pacific Northwest. They define a very specific, very happy period of my life, and I can’t look back on that time as fondly as I used to any more. This is a sad day.

  37. amsballs on July 2nd, 2008 11:07 pm

    OppositeField said:

    As a sports fan, it just shakes me to my core. What is the point of investing so much time, money, and emotion in this stuff if it can just be snatched away like this? What does it make of my memories of being at the NBA Finals with my dad?

    I know it certainly cheapens mine. I was a teenager in 90s and the Sonics were my life. It’s hard to think about those playoff runs now. I was SO into it.

    And on DMZ’s arena comment, or, where i think he was going with it, at least…

    In 1995 The City opened a $133M Brand New Arena for the Sonics (the $75M figure you often hear or read about did not take into account the leftovers from the Coliseum, which would have been purchased if we didn’t already have them (stuff like the large concrete bridge that was fully included into the design), a 17,000 seat capacity, along with 58 suites, which were nice ones.

    The OKC Ford Center was constructed in 2002 for a cost of $89 M, with 18500 for basketball and 49 suites.

    So, does the additional 1,500 seats really make such a huge difference? Especially with reduced suites?

    Now take into account the proposed modifications of both buildings. At Ford, you’re getting a $121.6 M makeover (malls and stuff) and, BAM, it’s all of the sudden a “viable NBA arena,” as Stern likes to say.

    How can Ford be viable when the Key, even AFTER $220-300M in renovations to Bellevue Square-ize it still be NOT viable to the NBA?


    I hate David Stern.

  38. Mike Snow on July 2nd, 2008 11:08 pm

    Okay, collective venting is in danger of losing control, comments are closed, back to baseball.

  39. DMZ on July 2nd, 2008 11:13 pm


    Look, I’m as disappointed as anyone, but the name-calling and general horribleness of things said is way, way out of hand. It’s okay to be angry, but you can be angry and not, say, wish harm on someone, or call them names, and so on.

    Please. Thanks.

  40. aaron c. on July 2nd, 2008 11:13 pm

    Also, in response to those that equate the Grizzlies moving to Seattle as us putting the city of Memphis through the same thing we’ve gone through:

    As a native of Memphis, I can say with near 100% certainty that this isn’t the case. The Grizzlies have been in Memphis for seven years. The interest in having a professional team was limited to a very small portion of the community and motivated mainly by a desire among the wealthy and business interests to make Memphis more of a “world-class” sort of city. The vast majority of the population couldn’t have cared less; Tigers basketball is much, much more important and ingrained in the fabric of the community.

    So, while it would suck for some people in the area, it’s not really all that comparable of a situation. Memphis did fine for 200+ years without pro sports; they’ve got Elvis and Stax. What more do they need to prove?