NBA Finals 2012: Thunder's Appearance Another Blow to Seattle Sports Fans
It's been five years since the Seattle SuperSonics selected Kevin Durant as the second-overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, and four years since the team skipped town for Oklahoma City. The Thunder's appearance in the 2012 NBA Finals after just four seasons as a franchise is just another kick to the gut of the Seattle sports fanbase.
While the city has recently enjoyed some praise after the Mariners pitching staff threw a combined no-hitter last night, neither them or the Seahawks have been relevant in quite some time.
Pete Carroll's football team was able to pull off one of the more impressive Wild Card upsets a few seasons ago thanks to Marshawn Lynch's improbable run, but aside from that moment the team has been limping along since it's 2005 Super Bowl appearance.
The Mariners? Well, the team has never won the World Series or the American League pennant and haven't been seen in the postseason since 2000.
The Sounders have actually seen MLS success since coming back into existence, but the league has yet to grab national attention.
The hope of the city after seeing the Seahawks fade into mediocrity following their Super Bowl loss to Pittsburgh was Durant joining the SuperSonics. There are many enemies in the story of how Seattle lost their NBA team; due to slimy manipulations by Howard Schultz, Clayton Bennett and non-action from league commissioner David Stern, Seattle saw their hope leave town for the 44th-ranked viewing market.
Instead of the Emerald City enjoying a historic playoff run by a Durant-lead Sonics team, the city is forced to watch OKC enjoy what should be their NBA franchise take on either the Boston Celtics or Miami Heat.
Instead of the talk of Seattle sports being where this 2012 team ranks among all-time Sonics teams, it's how embarrassing the Seahawks will look donning their new Nike uniforms.
Casual NBA fans might think that after almost five years the city would have mourned and moved past the loss of their beloved Sonics, but those fans would be wrong. Adam Brown, producer of the documentary: Sonicsgate recently spoke with John Hickey of USA Today on the Thunder's success:
It's painful knowing that Seattle drafted all the key players —Russell Westbrook, Nick Collison, Serge Ibaka and Durant. … This team was built on the backs of Sonics fans. This was our team for 41 years. They ripped it away, and it's one of the biggest [sports] scandals of our time.
The success of the Thunder has brought to light one of Seattle's deepest wounds in the theft of the Sonics, with Tom Kelley of the Seattle Times explaining:
Watching the celebration in OKC made me feel a little bit like the jilted boyfriend who hears his ex-girlfriend just won the lottery...The part that angers me most watching all the yahooing in Oklahoma City is that the city hasn't earned this team. It hasn't suffered.
Kelley put it best, the Thunder were a team built in the city of Seattle only to bring joy to OKC. Just when Sonics fans finally thought they were dusting off the dirt and getting back to relevancy, Schultz and Bennett struck a deal that effectively murdered the franchise.
Seattle sports fans haven't had much to cheer about in almost a decade, and seeing their former franchise enter as the favorites to win the NBA title has to be one of the more painful moments in recent memory.
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