I sit at this keyboard and find it difficult to type these words. It's the end of an era.
An era that began for me about half my lifetime ago, in the middle Nineties shortly after I first moved to Seattle. Back then I didn't know a soul in town, I lived in freaking Federal Way which is as nifty a suburban hellhole as I've ever lived in, and the only thing I could really identify with was Sonics basketball.
Back then KC Jones was the coach, we'd just drafted Shawn and Gary, Nate was still the glue before he became the coach I couldn't stand, we had Ricky Pierce, Eddie Johnson ... not a championship caliber team mind you, but certainly not anything near the dregs of what you and I have been watching for years. Then they fired KC and replaced him with Karl and the rest, as they say, is history.
I suppose I could recap the highlights and lowlights, all the first round losses followed by the do-or-die 96 season where the Sonics ended up pitted against one of the five greatest teams in NBA history. That incredible Game 5 where Nate had a cortisone shot and came back, making us all wonder that if he'd just been healthy enough to guard Michael Jordan, maybe ... just MAYBE things would have turned out differently ... and the slow, eventual decline from championship contender to bottom feeder. The seemingly endless mismanagement, starting with the trade of Vin Baker. At the time it was actually a good move and made sense. I look back today and that's the one move that killed this franchise in this city. Vin promptly went down the tubes, his contract pretty much ensured they weren't going to get any better for seven years, which is a lifetime in this league, and all the interest and passion just slowly ... ebbed away.
But that was then, and this is now.
I am fortunate beyond words to share the friendship of the people behind Save Our Sonics and this site. It is a rare thing to see people achieving their dreams through hard work, sacrifice and their passion for this sport. Kevin Pelton and Brian after him are inspirations to me in what they have been able to accomplish over the past ten (My God, has it really been TEN?) years and see the places that their fandom has taken them. And everyone else from the old ESPN boards, many of whom are still around and whom I interact with occasionally both in online and "real" life. Scott, the ever-handle changing Mr. Baker, who I still fondly remember as Westphalstinks :), pdway, and so many many others. You guys are great people and it's an honor to work with you.
If this sounds like goodbye, it isn't ... time to take a step back. I'm kind of a Renaissance sorta dude, ya know. I like my geeky comics and playing my guitar and other bad habits ... I'll always be there to tip the glass or party with ya at the drop of a hat.
Funny, ya know. I used to know the name and relative statistical worth of every NBA player on every NBA roster on every team back in the ol' NBA Jam days. I could actually remember guys like Clarence Weatherspoon, Brad Lohaus, and of course the all-NBA comedy roster ... God Shammgod, Boniface N'Dong, Bison Dele aka Brian Williams ... I suppose if I have one thing to say to Mr. Stern it's this: You've killed all my joy for your sport David. For a while. I barely watched the Finals this year. And it should have been something that I as a basketball fan would be loving. I could barely summon up the apathy to be indifferent.
To the fans of the Oklahoma City Whatever: I can't say that you're going to be getting a particularly good team, but I guess it's better than no team at all. Enjoy it. May it bring to you the passion that I once had. May you never know the disappointment of having not only your fellow citizens but your elected officials basically telling you that they don't give a fat flying f*ck about your passion and that it has no cultural value. Because I guess if it really didn't, then you wouldn't be wanting this team so badly.
Regarding the case: I still don't think the City should have settled. Take your win in court and let the
chips fall where they may in Howard's case. No reason not to drag the NBA through the mud,
THEY"RE COMPLICIT IN THIS! If Memphis can't make it work, have Ballmer offer to
buy them out! Put the pressure back on the league! Not only did they completely screw the
fanbase over, and IMHO sell us down the river, but now Howard can't even proceed with his case ... this can't be considered a
win under anything but the most long term rose-colored view imaginable.
So in closing, thanks for your readership. It's been fun being a whimsical asshole and every once in a while talking hoops too.
Bless you and your families. Right now the world needs moms and dads and brothers and sisters, boyfriends, girlfriends, buddies, homies more than it needs NBA fans.
See y'all around the 'net.