As all sports geeks know- hearts are easily broken when it comes to rooting for your favorite team. Imagine all those poor Boston Red Sox fans that lived between 1919 to 2003 and never saw their team win a championship. Their die-hard fan base was feeling as if they were cursed.
I’ve had my heart broken over sporting events many times.
A tragic event that comes to mind is Dikembe Mutombo embracing the ball while lying on the floor of the Seattle Center Coliseum after the Denver Nuggets defeated the Sonics in the biggest upset in NBA playoff history. Dang, that still hurts me.
That was during the 1993-94 season when Michael Jordan was in his first retirement and pursuing a baseball career. It was basically the only time in which other NBA stars had a decent chance to get a ring during the "Jordan era."
Hakeem Olajuwon and the Rockets took both titles during that time, while leaving greats such as Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Reggie Miller, and Gary Payton (when he was The Glove) ringless.
Losing to the Nuggets that season will always linger in my sports-infested mind. What hurts most was that it was probably the best chance the team has ever had to win a championship during my lifetime.
They did reach the NBA finals in 1996 but faced the Chicago Bulls with their all time best 72-10 record. Everyone knew they had no chance to defeat a hungry duo of Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
The Sonics were the team of my youth. Led by Payton and Shawn Kemp, they won four straight division titles and were a fixture in the playoffs. They won a championship in 1979 but unfortunately I was too young to celebrate.
Keeping faith alive for your teams is what makes us all sports nuts. When faith is gone, hell, I don’t even know what to do.
This leads me to the point of this column. The Seattle Sonics will most likely be leaving the city and moving to Oklahoma City. I know, freakin’ Oklahoma City.
I’m envious of those poor Red Sox fans that suffered through heart ache and never saw a championship. At least they had a team to root for. Sonic fans everywhere will be forced to cope with the loss of a team. This is something Seattle fans have never done.
Sure, we've lost more than our share of star players (Griffey, Randy Johnson, A-Rod, and countless others), but our teams have always fought through it. The Sonics will probably leave after 2010, if not sooner.
I will never root for them once they leave town, too. That would mean I’m supporting Clayton Bennett. The man mostly responsible for moving the team to his home town in Oklahoma.
I realize sports is a business and I actually respect that.
What I just can’t allow myself to accept though is my team leaving town. It’s unacceptable. I don’t want to see Gary Payton’s retired jersey hanging in some arena located in Oklahoma. I don’t want Bennett to take my team’s records, stats, colors or cheerleaders from the Emerald City.
It’s tough for me to root for the Sonics right now because I know they’re leaving and I don’t want to get too attached. I want to buy a Kevin Durant jersey and watch my team rebuild itself into the tradition-rich Sonics I grew up watching. I still won’t do it, though.
Being love sick is the worst thing I know. Whether it’s over a girl or a team leaving town. I hope it doesn’t happen, but anyone who knows anything about the business of the NBA realizes Bennett has his mind set on bringing a pro team to a non major league city.
There's a reason Oklahoma City has no pro teams. It's simply not a major league city, despite what Bennett or David Stern feels.
I’m sure it will hit me when I’m watching SportsCenter and seeing highlights of the new Oklahoma City team. That will be a tough day.