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Dead End? The Sonics and Blazers I-5 Rivalry May Be No More

George DContributor IApril 2, 2008

It is always hard to say goodbye to something that you love. But why is it so hard to say good riddance to something that indifference should reign supreme with?

If the Blazers were leaving town, people in Portland would be on suicide watch. Bridges would be closed to pedestrians. Gun shops would be indefinitely closed. Any and all medication would be removed from the shelves of stores statewide.

That is why some in the Portland area are feeling for Sonics fan this morning.

The Sonics are as good as gone. Barring a last second miracle that team will soon be part of the vast landscape of Oklahoma City. They will trade from the greenery of the Pacific Northwest for the barren lands of "Texas Junior."

And this will do nothing for the NBA.

Sports are all about rivalries. And without the Sonics, the Blazers will be without one.

Sure, the hatred for the Lakers will still be there. And the crowds will still come for the major teams. But nothing brought out the venom between two towns like the Blazers and Sonics.

It was the one tangible link, besides a freeway that rarely moves at the speed limit, that these two cities had. Soon, Seattle will be without a team, and Portland will now have to turn to the (GULP!) Sacramento Kings to continue the I-5 rivalry.

And that just does not have the appeal of the current rivalry has.

These two teams have shared a lot. Current Blazers Martell Webster and Brandon Roy are Seattle products. Coach Nate McMillan has his number retired by the Sonics. Bob Whitsitt was once the General Manager of the Sonics.

Detlef Scrempf and Shawn Kemp called Portland home as well. Lenny Wilkens, the man who took the Sonics to the Promised Land, once donned the black and red of the Blazers as a player and a coach.

But the main item that these two teams share is a natural, geographic rivalry. And this is something that the NBA does not seem to care about.

If the OKC wants a team, grant them an expansion team. Take the Hornets back to them. Do something besides jobbing the people of Seattle, and indirectly the people of Portland as well.

As a Blazers fan, I should be jumping for joy that those goobers up north are going to lose their team. However, it just does not seem right.

It does not feel right on many different levels.

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