I'm selfishly taking this time to say goodbye to my old self.
From 2008 through the day before yesterday, I spent plenty of time turning over rocks looking for signs of life, and shared whatever I found with you. There was a point, I'll call it 2009 (the entire year) where I joked that I was "Giving Hope to the Hopeless", but it was mostly to myself.
I examined the empty shell of Key Arena, prodded local politicians to do something, or at least ask that they provide the means for others to do something.
Unlike the new arena that will smell like hotdogs, 2009 smelled like desperation. I've lived it, we lived it.
So, with that experience still fresh in my mind I'll spell out what the near future looks like, and feels like.
For Sonics fans that have had their feet sunk into cement and then pushed into Elliott Bay I have good news, you're not dead. More than that, you are very much alive, it's true. Try to be happy about that, seriously, do try.
The path to having NBA basketball back in Seattle is paved with hard work and lots of money from Chris Hansen and company.
But, lets back up a tiny bit, there is that arena, partially financed by public money collected in and around the facility. I had made this point in the past many times, the inevitable requirement for that exact public/private partnership, that interfacing public infrastructure would have to be carried in some way by a local municipality. It's exceedingly unlikely that anybody like Chris Hansen read anything I've ever written. But, meditate on a problem long enough and the solution can become both obvious and seemingly impossible to those without the means, practical and inevitable to the few that do have the means.
And yet, because you shown genuine interest, you're months away from wondering who those familiar strangers are in Sonics uniforms.
My tiny part has been done for some time. I'm just a Sonics fan now, waiting to write basketball stories in the near future. Sweet freedom.
The flip side, the path Kevin Johnson is on is a desperate one. I know desperation when I see it, having lived it. He has nothing to lose, you see, by continuing to travel down this path. The worst thing that could happen is what is obviously happening, the Kings franchise leaves Sacramento.
Whatever KJ can do through the remaining weeks can only make the Sacramento situation better in the long term. I don't expect that they will keep the team, they were leaving the minute George Maloof pulled the plug on the arena proposal last year. They couldn't afford to stay, they couldn't go to Anaheim. At the same time Seattle was working on an arena solution that had escaped Sacramento.
This isn't a car accident, but a business transaction.
Battling something that looks inevitable is not easy, certainly few Seattle politicians had the stomach for it.
But, the fact of the matter is that there is a formal agreement not involving Sacramento. What's left for KJ is positioning Sacramento as the the clear front runner for the next available franchise. The bad news for KJ is that his big show in front of the NBA Board of Governors is the easy part. Finding a private partner to champion and commit to building an arena without having a team in town takes a lot more than a weekend of emotional pleas in New York.
It's desperate toiling, thankless even when you are being thanked.
When you got nothin', you've got nothin' to lose.
That's my last word on the Kings, on the desperate recient past for us, and that fear that we are somehow still wearing cement shoes.
Have a great day,