Seattle SuperSonics: An Open Letter to David Stern

Todd PheiferAnalyst IIIMay 17, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - FEBRUARY 16:  NBA Commissioner David Stern addresses the media before NBA All-Star Saturday Night part of 2013 NBA All-Star Weekend at the Toyota Center on February 16, 2013 in Houston, Texas. NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver will succeed Stern on February 1, 2014. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Dear Mr. Stern:

Well, I hope you are happy. The Sacramento Kings are going to stay in town (via The Seattle Times) and you got your way...again.

Is that what this is all about Commissioner Stern? Is this about you getting your way?

I would hope that a professional such as yourself would be beyond this playground emotion, but throughout this entire process, there has seemed to be a tone of heavy-handed guidance from your office.

Frankly, I am still trying to figure out your motives.

Your motive here cannot be profit. The Seattle offer was better. It was better for the NBA, the owners and the overall branding of the product. Certainly, there is a loyal fan base in Sacramento, and it would have been very sad for them to lose their team.

However, as a pure money-making venture, the Chris Hansen package was going to put the league in a better situation to maximize revenue. Don’t tell me that your focus has suddenly shifted from entrepreneurialism to altruism.

Was it your undying career commitment to preventing teams from moving? Oh, don’t seem to have that commitment. I seem to recall that one or two franchises have moved during your tenure.

You stood by and let Clay Bennett walk out of the Emerald City with a team that had been there since 1967. Then, when a very motivated Chris Hansen put together an impressive financial package, you were suddenly a fierce advocate for the Kings.

Where was this sense of loyalty when Clay Bennett was outright lying to the city of Seattle?

Of course, you are going to deny that you made this happen. I can’t prove that you facilitated this outcome, but I think it is safe to say that few people believe you when you hint that you were not an influencing factor.

It may be a little strange, Mr. Stern, to have a tweet put in an open letter, but it is the modern age. You understand...I think.

Steve Kyler of The USA Today tweeted this:

Is that true, Mr. Stern? Did you impose your will on the owners yet again? Again, why the sudden loyalty for Sacramento when you seemingly had little care for the fans in Seattle just a few years ago?

I would say that you are fortunate that you were able to compel the Maloofs to sell the Kings to the hastily-constructed local group. If this ends up in court and a judge starts examining antitrust law, things could probably get ugly for you and your legacy.

Can I make one small request? Could you please give the fans of Seattle just a little bit of transparency? I realize that you have spent your whole career presenting carefully-rehearsed rhetoric to the media, but now that you are at the end of your career, how about a little honesty?

Do you just not like Seattle? Did they not show you the same love that other cities have? Are you not a fan of drizzly rain? Lattes? Pearl Jam?

There are certainly things that you did well during your career as commissioner, but in the minds of many fans, the events of the last few years have tainted your legacy. Before you slip away in 2014, do the right thing.

Return to the basketball fans in Seattle what they very clearly deserve. Facilitate the return of the Seattle SuperSonics.


No one you know