With the announcement that the new NBA franchise in Oklahoma City will take the nickname the “Thunder”, the time is right to recap some of the events that led to the city of Seattle getting robbed of their team by the NBA and David Stern.
First of all, the incompetent former owner of the Sonics, (and chairman and CEO of Starbucks) Howard Schultz, decided to sell the team to Oklahoma City’s own Clay Bennett without putting a relocation clause in the contract to prohibit the team’s move.
Schultz, who later decided to half-heartedly pursue a lawsuit against Bennett—which he dropped today—had previously stated his desire to sell the team to an owner who would keep it in Seattle. Clearly, when push came to shove, Schultz was looking out for his best interests (big surprise from the wealthy CEO), and he paved the way for Bennett to rip the Sonics away from the 12th-largest market in the county.
But while Schultz should bear a sizable portion of the blame, he is clearly not the only one responsible for this tragedy that broke the hearts of millions of fans. The commissioner of the NBA, David Stern, should be downright ashamed of the robbery he committed against the city of Seattle.
Stern, a longtime friend of Clay Bennett, knew Bennett’s ultimate desire was to move the team to Oklahoma City. In fact, Howard Shultz even admitted that Stern had attempted to discourage him from pursuing a lawsuit against Bennett. This, while the court actually possessed emails sent from Bennett to friends discussing the move to Oklahoma City at the same time he told the city of Seattle that his “true intention” was for the team to stay put.
Now, doesn’t it seem a bit contradictory for Bennett to tell Sonics fans he would do everything he could to keep the team in Seattle while simultaneously emailing about his intention to move the team to Oklahoma? Your answer should be yes—and that begs the question of why Stern didn’t see this happening (or chose to ignore such fraud).
Frankly, Stern chose to hook his buddy up at the expense of Supersonic fans who had bled the green and gold for 40 years.
Now, for all the Celtics fans reading this, your World Champions (that sure sounds nice) are not in danger of being moved to some obscure market that probably won’t even make a profit. Bennett actually admitted that the goal of the Oklahoma City franchise was simply to break even.
But remember when the Patriots almost moved to Hartford? Imagine, people of Boston: no Super Bowl championships, no dynasty, no state-of-the-art Gillette Stadium, no Tom Brady!
Well, unfortunately for the people of Seattle, this nightmare has despicably become reality—and with all due respect to the people of Oklahoma, for some reason Kevin Durant’s Oklahoma City “Thunder” just doesn’t quite have the same ring to it as The Glove’s and The Reign Man’s Sonics.