Hardcourt Correspondent, White Cover Magazine
When it rains, it pours.
In Seattle, that statement is quite a literal truth. Anywhere in the Northwest, really. But, it’s not always easy being a sports fan in the Emerald City.
The Mariners have never won a World Series, the Seahawks have been in one Super Bowl and were robbed by a refereeing crew, and the Seattle SuperSonics still don’t exist again.
Not only did Seattle see their NBA team swept out from under their feet and shipped to Oklahoma City, but Washington’s largest city now has to watch the Thunder and their fans succeed and thrive on a yearly basis, led by two players who were drafted when the franchise was still in Seattle – Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
(On Wednesday night, Oklahoma City lost their second-round series to Memphis, 4-1, but the team finished the regular season atop the Western Conference.)
Now, the former Sonics fanbase has to watch their next potential NBA franchise continually dangled in front of them and then nipped away at the last second, like a dog and a chew toy or Jim Balsillie and an NHL franchise.
It was supposed to be the Sacramento Kings, but Wednesday proved fatal for Seattle’s professional basketball foreseeable future. The Kings have been the NBA’s hottest rumoured-to-leave team for a long time, but that all ended today when league owners voted 22-8 to agree with its own relocation committee and reject the bid to move the Kings to Seattle.
Seattle will have to wait, and Sacramento and its $625 million franchise will supposedly close the deal on a new ownership group in 48 hours, according to NBA commissioner David Stern.
It’s good news for Kings fans and SacTown mayor Kevin Johnson – a former star with the 1990’s Phoenix Suns – and it’s bad news for Seattle.
Okay, you get it right? This sucks if you live in the Pacific Northwest, and it sucks if you miss having basketball in the Pacific Northwest.
(Let’s also try to forget that this year’s Western Conference semi-final between Memphis and Oklahoma City featured the former Vancouver Grizzlies and the former SuperSonics. There’s really no end to all the little puns and anecdotes this NBA saga continues to weave.)
Fact is, every one of Seattle’s favourite sons leaves for somewhere better, or somewhere more promising. Kevin Durant, Westbrook, and the Sonics left to become a cartoon-ish, teal-coloured version of themselves – and better – in the Sooner State. Ichiro left without a World Series to become a New York Yankee. Who knows what will happen to Felix Hernandez or the suddenly spectacular Seattle Seahawks.
Seattle now re-enters that purgatory of tragedy that so many cities have had to sit idly by and wait patiently through. Some of them get their teams back, and some of them don’t. Winnipeg had to wait 15 years for their Jets. Cleveland and Baltimore and Indianapolis have swapped partners more than Silvio Berlusconi. But, the Grizzlies are still in Memphis, the Expos are in Washington (D.C.), and the Nordiques have no timetable to return to Quebec City.
It ain’t always easy being Seattle, but at least they’re used to the rain.