Call it a biased view, but there is no way Seattle Supersonics fans should find solace in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s new found success. After a magnificent 41 years of basketball in Seattle, fans were shunned and the team was relocated to Oklahoma.
Needless to say, the Sonics uprooting was an extremely shoddy situation.
After basketball was taken from the city of Seattle, some fans felt betrayed and even gave up the NBA altogether. Other, less educated fans—by my estimation—continued cheering for the team after they moved to Oklahoma City.
Regardless of the history of the organization, the Thunder and Sonics are two completely different franchises. The Sonics are dead and the Thunder should not be associated with the Sonics’ history.
Nonetheless, the point remains there is no reason for fans of the now defunct franchise to cheer for the team that was stolen from directly under their noses.
After Howard Schultz, the former owner of the Sonics, sold the team to Clay Bennett for $350 million the relocation process seemingly began, according to the Seattle Times.
This move basically exonerated Schultz from blame for the hijacking and allowed Bennett free rein to relocate the team.
At the introductory news conference, Bennett even had the audacity to tell every Seattle fan their team would remain at home (via Seattle PI):
"It is our desire to have the Sonics and Storm stay in Seattle," Bennett said.
Terms of the contract Bennett signed included a "good faith best efforts" clause that required him to take 12 months to attempt to secure a new arena deal in Seattle, according to the Seattle Times.
Schultz later claimed Bennett breached his contract when his proposed arena plan would have required “unprecedented amounts in public subsidies,” according to Schultz.
After more than a year had passed and his Arena proposal was shot down, the team announced it was moving to OKC as soon as it could get out of its KeyArena lease, according to the Seattle PI.
The NBA turned their backs on the city of Seattle, including commissioner David Stern.
Stern was concerned about attendance numbers and supported the relocation efforts due to Seattle not anteing up for a new arena, according to the Seattle Times.
"There's not going to be a new arena. There's not going to be a public contribution,” Stern said during the 2008 NBA All-Star game.
Sonics fans were seemingly robbed of professional basketball, so they have every right to be upset when it comes to the Thunder.
After the Sonics selected Kevin Durant second overall in the 2007 NBA draft, it seemed as if the franchise was on its way back to prominence.
The team also hired GM Sam Presti to build the Sonics into the juggernaut that Thunders fans have reaped the benefits of.
Seattle fans should scoff at the notion of supporting the Thunder and should truly cheer for only one NBA team:
Whoever is matched up against the Thunder on any given night.
This week, it’s the San Antonio Spurs. Next week, it could be the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics.
Regardless, Seattle should take refuge in the fact that the Thunder are not the Sonics, and they never will be.
Because that team is, and will always be, only in Seattle.
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