People say a picture speaks a thousand words. Weird how this picture show 41 years of history being carefully deconstructed into a thousand pieces.
I haven't really gotten hit with the team being taken away. Or is taken away too harsh of a word? The more appropriate word would be given away, as that's exactly what local owner Howard Schultz did two years ago, when he sold the team to Clayton Bennett and his group from Oklahoma City.
Now Schultz has put together a lawsuit that will try and get the team back. Will it work? I don't know. Do I care? Not really. Like I said earlier, it hasn't hit me yet that the NBA no longer exists in Seattle, and it probably won't hit me until Opening Day, when the Oklahoma Whatevers play their first game.
So now what? What do I do?
A basketball enthusiast who's just lost the only NBA team he's ever followed.
Root for the next-closest team? The Blazers? That's a hard sell, especially when they're not even located in my own state.
I don't want to make the comparison of a Sonics fan rooting for the Blazers being equal to a Yankees fan rooting for the Red Sox, or Ohio State fans cheering on Michigan. But maybe in our own little world up here in the Northwest, where the rest of the country thinks we aren't even a part of these continental 48 states, the I-5 rivalry between the two cities is just as big. I never personally felt it, but maybe because I wasn't as interested during the Blazers and Sonics championship runs.
The Blazers do have some serious Seattle ties, though, with former Mr. Sonic himself Nate McMillan coaching the squad, which is led by local Seattle product Brandon Roy (who just so happened to be in my graduating class of 2002 from Garfield High in Seattle). They also have Martell Webster, another local kid from the Emerald City, but I never really knew of him because he came straight out of high school to the NBA.
A big thing for me when being a fan of a particular team is knowing that, if I really wanted to cough up the money, I could go see them in person. Is there ever going to be a time where I want to take the three-hour trip down to Portland just to see a basketball game?
The last and only time I did that was to see LeBron James during his rookie season. Unfortunately, he had one of his worst statistical games ever that night: eight points on 3-of-12 shooting with four rebounds and six assists. (Just so you know, this is a precursor to an article I'll write about how LeBron James will never win a championship.)
I need immediate access to a team to be a fan. I need to be surrounded by the fans to be a fan. I can't follow the Houston Texans up here, because I have no one to talk about them with.
Will that be the case with Portland? Possibly. How long do I have to wait before the NBA comes back? Maybe forever. Am I going to stop following the NBA? No, but it sure is enticing.
I dunno, the Canucks are only two hours away in Vancouver...maybe I'll just become a hockey fan.