The Zombie Sonics.
The greatest nickname a team ever received, and it came straight from the media. I smile when I hear that because it shines the light on the wrong that Stern and Bennett did to Seattle and the unending support Seattle fans receive, and an acknowledgement of how they were jilted.
With the recent airing of Sonicsgate on CNBC and the drama unfolding in Sacramento with the Maloofs, Seattle is once again being targeted as a possible destination for an NBA’s Kings. Let’s face it, no one wants team relocation, a pain all too real for Sonics fans. With the Maloofs broke and the arena deal now allegedly dead, what’s next? Are the Kings Seattle bound?
Chris Hansen has offered up an arena plan for Seattle. Better yet, he owns the land for the proposed site, a major step forward when compared to Clay Bennett’s laughable, designed-to-fail plan. It’s reception has been warm by the city council and, even more so, by the Seattle media who are ravenously hungry for any sports news to report. If the arena plan pans out, and I believe the location is a perfect, this has all the potential for two new teams in Seattle; one from the NHL (Phoenix Coyotes?) and the return of the NBA, the Kings being offered as the most logical choice, given their vulnerability and tenuous situation in Sacramento. All of this suggests the stars are aligning for a return of the NBA to Seattle. Is this real? Is it another carrot-on-a-stick top leverage Sacramento into ‘playing ball?’ Who knows. If a team is truly destined for Seattle, I gotta ask the obvious question;
Is this really a good thing?
Having lost the Sonics, the NBA has faded in relevancy to me. I did not drift to the Blazers as Stern expected, I just...don’t really care anymore. The blame for that indifference falls squarely on David Stern and his ego. I miss the Sonics to this day, but somehow I am not at all excited about the prospect of a team relocating and then rebranding themselves as the Sonics. It rings hollow, like a bait-and-switch. “Hey, if we move a team and put ‘em in the green and gold, Sonic fans will be fooled into believing! And that leads to Seattleites, who were already burned once by the NBA, badly, handing more money over to the NBA.” I have a problem with that. Will we get used to it? Maybe. I am also used to $5 gas, the recession and never ending Tim Tebow drama. None of those are particularly enjoyable.
Will I feel bad for Sacramento? Sure, but the Kings relocating to Seattle is nothing like the blatant lying game Bennett played when he thugged Seattle’s beloved team of 41 years. With Sacramento, a buyer would buy them with the sole and publicly acknowledged intent to move them. No lies, no ruining the team and alienating the fan base to further the real agenda. No appalling deceit.
In a way, the NBA owes Seattle a team, and Clay Bennett, shamefully sitting on the relocation committee, should be doing everything in his power to right that wrong. The problem is that his involvement will immediately open those old wounds and shine the light back on his disgraceful actions with the Sonics. If he is like Stern, he’ll put his ego first. There will be no expansion teams. Not with the current state of the league. Some 18 teams are claiming to be losing money, adding another team to the league is not a practical reality.
If the Kings or any other team moves to Seattle, I am not sure I can embrace them. Not after what the league did to the City. Not after creating this void. Not after assuming the fans would just blindly return, like zombies.
I guess they’d have to be called the Zombie Sonics.