The Tale of Two Cities
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An impressive second half and the dazzling play of Kevin Durant fueled the Oklahoma City Thunder to an 107-99 victory Wednesday night against the San Antonio Spurs, which advanced the Thunder to the NBA Finals.
While jubilant Thunder fans swarmed various sporting goods stores to scoop up any remaining Western Conference Championship gear, roughly 2,000 miles northwest there's a city who is in mourning and angry. A city where some people still don a jersey that consists of colors of green, gold and white. A city which holds a life-less, sound-less KeyArena. A city that lost their team. I'm referring to the "Emerald City." Seattle.
The Seattle Super Sonics (also referred to as the Sonics) were the heart and soul of Seattle. Forty-one years, 1,745-1,585 (.524), six Division titles, three Conference titles and an NBA Championship (1979).
In the 90's the Sonics were a powerhouse in the NBA. The Sonics best season came in the 1995-96 season when they had an 64-18 record and made it to the NBA Finals only to lose to the best team in NBA history, the Chicago Bulls, who won an NBA record 72 games and had the most talented roster of all-time.
The Sonics fell off the radar a bit after the 90's as they only made it to the playoffs three times from 2000-2008. Prior to the 2005-06 NBA season, Clayton Bennett, an Oklahoma businessman and head of the Professional Basketball Club LLC (PBC) bought the Super Sonics from Howard Schultz for approximately $350 million. Bennett assured Seattle that his intent was to keep the Super Sonics in Seattle.
Bennett tried to persuade local governments to help fund a $500 million arena complex that would be the new home of the Super Sonics due to the low capacity of seating in KeyArena. Bennett's feeble attempt failed. After the failure of securing funds from the local government, Bennett's group informed the NBA that they intend to move the franchise to Oklahoma City and wanted arbitration from Seattle to be released from the lease KeyArena had on the Sonics which was valid through 2010.
After a lawsuit, a settlement was made on July 2, 2008. Eventually emails were uncovered that Bennett, as well as some other members, planned all along to relocate the team to Oklahoma City. Despite many protests and rallies, the Super Sonics were relocated leaving the city of Seattle heartbroken.
Now look, the Super Sonics drafted the talented forward out of Texas and NBA Superstar Kevin Durant, Nick Collison and superstars Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook. These guys have put the Thunder on their backs and have made them the next Western Conference powerhouse. I
t must be frustrating waking up today in a gloomy Seattle looking at a poster of a young Durant in green, white and gold and then turn on the tube to see the guys you rooted for all wearing blue surrounded by 19,000+ fans and a Western Conference trophy many miles away.
The fact of the matter is that the Super Sonics deserved to stay in Seattle. I have nothing but sympathy for the City of Seattle today and for the rest of my life. Even if the NBA grants Seattle with another team it won't be the same. If the Thunder win the Championship this year they should all remember where their history began and acknowledge the City of Seattle and the Super Sonics.
All the information provided above is from the award winning sports documentary "Sonicgate" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9Dp20ydm1E
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