They're gone, and they aren't coming back. Basketball fans in Seattle have realized that the SuperSonics are now history, and the Thunder are set to enter the league. Who knows if David Stern will grant Seattle another team, but one thing is for sure, Seattle doesn't need the NBA, but I think the NBA needs Seattle.
Since the departure of the oldest professional sports team in Seattle, sports in the Emerald City have stunk. The Mariners are on pace to be the first 100-loss team with over a $100 million payroll. The Seahawks are 0-2 and completely out of wide receivers, and the UW Huskies have gotten off to an 0-3 start, with a Jake Locker "unsportsmanlike conduct" penalty at the end of a potential victory against BYU that cost the Huskies the game.
However, one thing is for sure- the fans are still showing up to support their teams. Over the last three years, Sonics fans knew their team was leaving, but they still supported them, and regardless of the fact that Clay Bennett and Sam Presti purposely put a terrible team on the court, the fans still came out.
Seattle doesn't need this team. This is a city that has the NFL, MLB, WNBA, and coming next year, the MLS. Key Arena will miss out on 41 dates that were reserved for the Supes, but the Storm play there as well, not to mention all of the concerts that come through Seattle.
Oklahoma City deserves an NBA team, and season tickets have already sold out. Oklahoma City is the 42nd largest market in the NBA, while Seattle is 12th. Down the road, this could be a problem. The Vancouver Grizzlies moved to Memphis after six years in the league, and they're now threatening to move again.
The Charlotte Hornets began playing in 1985, and moved to New Orleans in 2001. Before the team's success last year, owner George Shinn was considering moving again. Charlotte's new franchise, the Bobcats ranked 24th in attendance in the league last year. Small market teams typically don't have the success or the attendance that larger cities have. After the first four seasons, I'd be surprised if Oklahoma can support a franchise that was supported in Seattle for forty.
Bennett never gave his "good faith best effort" to keep the team in Seattle. He's a liar, he's a villain, and he’s a carpetbagger. David Stern and him are buddies, and had no problem leaving one of the league's oldest franchises in the dust. But what happens down the road when the majority of the NBA fan-base from the Northwest doesn't exist? His betrayal of Seattle will affect Stern more than he thinks.
So now, Seattle joins the list of forgotten NBA cities. Vancouver, Buffalo, San Diego, Kansas City, St. Louis- they're all there. Years later, I'm sure these cities are still missing their teams, but they got over it, and so will Seattle.
No matter what Stern says or does, he can't take our championship banner, he can't take our retired jerseys, and he can't take our memories from the playoff runs of the 90's.
The city of Seattle will never forget the Sonics, but they don't need them. Someday, the Mariners and Huskies will be good again, the Seahawks might be able to rejuvenate their season, and the Sonics will be a great memory. The NBA will be missing out on a city that loved the NBA. In a couple of years, it wouldn't surprise me if David Stern realizes that he misses Seattle, and he might also realize that he needed their fan-base more than he thought.