In 2006 the Seattle SuperSonics had a similar game to last nights "blackout" in Sacramento.
I was so happy that team owner Clay Bennett had invited Save Our Sonics and Sonicscentral to attend that game in his owners box. It felt like a tremendous indication that he had loyalty to the hometown fans and a sign that great times were to come.
Like the Kings we faced our local rival in a game where a lot of pressure was put on the team and the fans to demonstrate passion for the coming season. It was a sellout. The building was great and the hated blazers came to town for a very competitive game. Every effort was made to send a message that "disregard the skeptics and rumors that this product is tainted. We're going to have a great year and coming to KeyArena is a great night out in Seattle!"
Looking back the weird tension between us and the OKC guys was kind of an obvious signal. At the time it seemed believable that it was really just a fan/owner or rich guy/normal guy thing. Obviously we were a little out of our element. Somehow, during that competitiveness game the rush of emotions came through and it just felt like nothing could stop the SuperSonics. I was high fiving Oklahoma guys and doing all kinds of toasts to Sonics basketball with them.
Then, after being up by 4 with 1:32 left in the game we just completely imploded and lost the game.
A realization set in that we could lose. A feeling of real dread that if the ball bounced the wrong way or momentum shifted that it could just be over. A "W" on the record shifted to an "L".
We all glossed over it. We said our goodbyes. Thought that maybe there would be better luck next time but in all honesty a lot of the enthusiasm fled that game. Our hope just got dashed to soundly, too early in the process.
The Kings almost repeated it last night. Thanks to our own Aaron Brooks they held on to a narrow win. If they had lost that game in Sac last night I think I know how they would be feeling. They would say it was not related but moral would take a substantial and early hit.
I'm going to be watching things down there closely. I wish I could say I won't but its not true. Fascinating to see it.