Well the OKC Thunder advanced to the NBA Finals. And it hurt and angered me much more than I thought it would. Not that I ever thought it would be pleasant, but the emotions the whole thing stirred up surprised even me. As I logged on to facebook and twitter after the game I wasn’t surprised to see that a good 75% of my friend’s posts were about the Thunder/Sonics. But I have to say I was completely shocked and caught off guard by the number of those posts that were supporting and congratulating the Thunder. I knew there were some Sonics fans out there cheering for ‘em, but I had no idea how many. And I don’t get it. I simply can’t wrap my head around cheering for this team. I understand what happened in Seattle wasn’t the players’ fault. And yes, Durant is fun to watch and he’s a likeable guy. Yes, these players were drafted by Seattle. I’m not arguing any of that. But I can't just forget the guy in charge. Who gets handed the Championship Trophy when the Thunder win? Clay Bennett. How can you be okay with that? Just seeing his smug face on TV last night for even a split second made my stomach churn. And horrible swear words come flying out of my mouth. It brought it all back.
So no, I am definitely not one of the people cheering on the Thunder. The Thunder are not my Sonics. They are not Seattle’s team. I get confused talking with Sonic fans who are now cheering for the Thunder. A good many of these people say they want Seattle to have an NBA team again. So to me, that begs the question of who they’ll cheer for down the line…OKC Thunder or the Sonics when we get a team back…and we WILL get a team again.
I guess part of me is just glad to see some passion for the whole issue. It’s clear after last night’s game that love for the Sonics and NBA in the Pacific Northwest is not dead. And that is a relief. I hate it when I hear people say the NBA is dead to them. It's over and done with, move on. Ugh. I hate the mentality that it happened, it’s over and we can’t change that. So at least this whole debate of cheering for or against the Thunder has shown me that people do still care about the NBA, even if there’s disagreement on how to show your love for the Sonics.
Whether it’s for or against OKC, most people debating at least agree we want the NBA back in Seattle. And for the first time since our team was stolen it appears we have a really, really good chance at making that happen. Thanks in large part to a guy we know as “San Francisco based hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen.” I hope everybody realizes what a crucial time this is in the efforts to get an Arena built in Seattle and bring back the NBA, and hopefully the NHL as well. All this passion I’ve seen in the last 24 hours from people in the NW for basketball, the NBA, Sonics, Thunder, whatever…please take that and channel it for good. Don’t just sit back and hope that something will happen. Or, don’t just sit back and assume that it’s not going to happen. Be a part of this and do YOUR part to make sure that it does happen.
Chris Hansen, the Arena investor, has set up a website www.SonicsArena.com. I urge you to go and check it out. The site outlines all the various ways that you can get involved and show support. Perhaps one of the biggest events coming up is the Arena Rally taking place at Occidental Park from 4pm-6pm Thursday, June 14th. Go down to Seattle for the rally. Be a part of this. Show everyone that we want the NBA back in Seattle. Show people that Seattle is NOT just about Starbucks and flannel and that we ARE passionate about our sports. I haven’t been to too many rallies in my time. Not usually my thing. But I was 1 of about 3,000 people who gathered in a courtyard in Seattle right outside the federal courthouse back in June 2008 to try and ‘Save our Sonics.’ And although we lost that fight, lost our team, I am proud to say I was there. I went to the rally. I held signs. I chanted and cheered right alongside Gary Payton, Spencer Hawes and thousands of fans just like me. I showed my loyalty to the team I grew up watching and cheering for. That’s what a true fan does. You support your team till the end. Even while it’s being ripped away and stolen right in front of your eyes.
The fact that four years later we have an opportunity to rally for the return of the Sonics is pretty amazing to me. To be honest, I didn’t think it would happen this soon. I thought it would be many more years down the road. And while I know we are still a loooong ways away from getting a team back, we are a step closer. With a huge opportunity to get another step closer. And that’s how this thing is going to get done. One step at a time.
I wish everyone could have experienced that Save our Sonics rally with me back in 2008. While I wish we never had to go through it at all, it was a pretty incredible thing to be a part of. It was pretty cool to bond with total strangers over our love for the Sonics. Much like when you’re high-fiving the strangers sitting in your section at the arena for a game. I can’t wait for the rally next Thursday at Occidental Park to join with probably many of those same 3,000 fans, and hopefully a whole lot more, in showing our support for a new Arena and bringing our Sonics back to Seattle. I hope you will all join me! I don’t care who you cheer for in the NBA Finals. But if you are a true Sonics fan, show your loyalty by getting behind this Arena deal and doing your part to make it happen. When we get the Sonics back, you’ll want to be able to say you were a part of it.