As we approach a full month of no basketball, many fans are feeling the pain without their favorite sport, and without sports overall. One city is feeling the pain more than others, and that’s Seattle whose hearts were broken when the Seattle Supersonics relocated to Oklahoma City to become the Thunder in the 2008-2009 season. This move ended up making four men in the basketball world the most despised men in Seattle ahead of Alex Rodriguez, but that’s a story for another day; the men I’m speaking of are David Stern, Howard Schultz, Greg Nichols, and Clay Bennett.
Once a storied franchise, which was our original major league sports franchise having their inaugural season in 1967, the Sonics eventually became champs in 1979 bringing Seattle its first major sports title. In 1989 and 1990, the Sonics drafted the cornerstones of their leap into stardom in the 1990s: Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton. These two kept the Sonics atop of the Western Conference, leading the Sonics to the NBA Championship during the 1995-1996 season, losing to Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls, who at the time set the record for the best regular-season record finishing 72-10. After a fallout with Kemp and later trading him in 1997 to Cleveland for Vin Baker, the Sonics started to fall.
Howard Shultz ended up buying the Sonics in 2001 but ended up butting heads with Gary Payton. This ended up concluding with the Sonics trading Gary Payton and Desmond Mason to the Milwaukee Bucks for Ray Allen, Kevin Ollie, Ronald Murray, and a draft pic, which ended up being Luke Ridnour on the trade deadline during the 2002-2003 season.
2003 wasn’t favorable again for the Sonics with them failing to make the playoffs again, but then we hit the 2004 season. During the 2004-2005 season, the Sonics went on to make the playoffs. They ended up taking the eventual NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs to 6 games.
Everything ended up going downhill after the NBA and Sonics failed to get a new arena or renovations at the least from Seattle or State in 2006. This ended up captivating Shultz into selling the team to Clay Bennett in 2006, a businessman from Oklahoma City.
The Sonics were a bottom-dweller again during the 2006-2007 season catapulting them high into the draft lottery, which ended up them getting the second overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. At the time, this was a win-win situation because they were either going to get Greg Oden or Kevin Durant.
After the Sonics drafted Kevin Durant drafted second overall and traded Ray Allen later in the draft in a draft-day blockbuster trade to Boston for the fifth overall pick in Jeff Green, this was when Seattle fans knew something was happening, and it wasn’t going to go in their favor.
April 8th, 2008 became one of the saddest days to many sports fans in Seattle because the Sonics announced they were relocating to Oklahoma City, and we loved our Sonics. It ended up aching more when the Thunder went to the NBA Championship in the 2012-2013 season, and everyone from Seattle was saying that should’ve been us.
One of my fondest memories of the Sonics was being able to attend two games, with one of the games being the most significant game since Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp era. That game was on April 15th, 2005 against the New Orleans Hornets with the Sonics winning by 25 points to clinch the Northwest Division. The other game wasn’t as big, but it gave me the chance to see Kevin Durant play during his rookie season, and boy was he amazing.
I’m still grateful to my sixth-grade basketball coaches for allowing me to attend my first Sonics game.
In 2013 Chris Hansen, a head fund manager from Seattle, attempted to buy the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle. Chris Hansen ended up getting deprived of ownership when the Board of Governors voted against the sale in a 22-8 vote. After Ex NBA Star Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento stepped heroically to save the Kings, unlike Greg Nichols who hid in the corner like a coward.
Now that we are getting a hockey team in Seattle and revamping KeyArena, the NBA needs to start looking at expanding the NBA, with their last expansion team coming in 2004 when they brought back basketball to Charlotte.
Seattle has had many events and rallies, begging the NBA to return basketball to our beloved city, with many former players joining in.
I believe the 2021 season will be successful for Seattle Hockey, which then puts the ball in Adam Silver’s court for expansion because we have nothing else to prove in showing we deserve a team.
If the NBA expands and doesn’t give Seattle a look, I genuinely believe the NBA has something against us.