Reasons to Stay Part 1: Supersonics Support Crew

Andrew BlanchetteCorrespondent IApril 17, 2008


   "Another game. Another Loss." I muttered to myself. It seemed to be a reoccurring comment. As frustrating as a losing NBA franchise can be, losing you NBA franchise, can be detrimental to not only the team, but the entire city. I took my usual place, with the few Sonics fans that could be labled as "die-hards", by the players garage, waiting for them to file out and scribble their names on a few pieces of memorabilia for us. It was after a Sunday game. A last second loss to the Sacramento Kings, thanks to Mike Bibby, when I realized, "What Clayton Bennett is doing, is wrong." 

Of Course I knew that.

But I saw it in a different light. Sure, it's immoral to take a whole city, and franchise hostage, by purchasing a team and claiming the need for a new area, but what I saw was one individual hurting another individual

I looked to my right. Casey Burr, a plumber from Marysville, about a 40 minute drive from downtown, stands before me, as he always does, with a bag over his shoulder full of Sonics merchandise that would rival that of the team store. A man who essentially plans his work schedule around that of the Sonics. He goes to the Furtado Center every weekend for morning shoot-arounds, only to meet the team at the game that night. He doesn't missgames. He will wait out in the rain, sleet, snow, for guys like Luke Ridnour, or Earl Watson, on a week night, just so they can sign a card for him. He knows the players by the car they drive, and always encourages everyone on the squad. He knows the ball boys by name, he invites players for cups of coffee, and he couldn't be nicer.


It was that night, when I fully realized what Bennett was doing. As usual, Kevin Durant stumbles into the passenger seat of his Range Rover, and stops to sign autographs. While his autograph is coveted by many, Casey always blazes a trail through the scrum in front of Durant's car, allowing the younger fans to get their opportunity to meet Durant up close.

P.J. Carlesimo wheels by in his BMW, and that's a sign to leave. As we all head to our cars, Casey remains. "Who are you waiting for?" I shout to him, from across the street."Paul Westhead is still in there. I'll wait for him to come out."


This is who Clayton Bennett is taking the team from.


On the left of me, is a man named Pierre, and his grandson Curtis. Curtis has gained some popularity from the players over the years, for geeting them when they enter, and wishing them off after the game. But one player in particular, Earl Watson, has become best friends with Curtis. He makes sure to have a lengthy conversation with him every night after the game. I saw him put his number into the kid's phone, and lastly, (yes, this is true) Earl has taken him to Texas for roadtrips, and is taking him to Disneyland after class is out. As the playes file out, Curtis and Pierre call it a night, while Pierre wheels of to his car in his motorized scooter, Curtis dawning a Watson jersey, as they walk side by side down the street.


This is who Clayton Bennett is taking the team from.

There are plenty more. Russell Gay, the huge Chris Wilcox fan. Greg, who hangs out with his son every night. Jake, who can recite stats off by heart, and Dallas, who doesn't say a word. He just gets signatures.   

All of these people are being wrong-done by Bennett and his associates.


It's more than business, it's more than politics and governors, it's more than a team, and it's more than a franchise. It's a way to forget about everything else, and just wait for a sore Kevin Durant to hobble up to his Range Rover.