In news that’s music to the ears of all Supersonics fans, Seattle-area hockey fans, and presumably everyone who believes it’s the owners and not the taxpayers who should be paying for sparkling new arenas and stadia in the first place, word has come down today that the group – led by Chris Hansen – looking to build an arena in SoDo, in hopes of winning an expansion NBA franchise and/or an expansion NHL franchise, has agreed to tear up the MOU, eliminate the public financing of a potential new arena, and complete the funding of the Lander overpass. All they’re asking for in return is the street vacation of Occidental Avenue, which was shot down earlier this year by … the Seattle City Council.
Obviously, this is terrific news, but you’ll forgive me if I don’t run around the city turning over cars in excitement. With each positive development, getting the Sonics back feels more and more like a reality; with each negative development, it feels more and more hopeless. I’ve been fucked over too many times by this God damned worthless city to even have this thing register on my personal Richter scale of emotions. Will the city council even grant them this banal request? Or, will they continue to proceed with their heads up their asses because they just don’t like sports and their constituency doesn’t see the value therein?
I’m a Sonics fan, and a sports fan, and I can tell you all about the value of sports, but that won’t do any good. I’m also a citizen, and I firmly believe that owners SHOULD pay for their own arenas and whatnot. Nevertheless, the sports fan in me – the Sonics fan in me – has gone along with the necessary evil that is our sports world today. I mean, has there EVER been an owner in any major sport who has personally funded his own arena or stadium? I feel like that would be pretty big news, right?
Which leads me to wonder: if this works, and we DO get the Sonics back, what will the ramifications be going forward? Other cities will be able to point to Seattle and tell their owners, “Look at what THEY were able to do!” Other city councils will be able to look at how Chris Hansen was strong-armed and might fortify themselves even further against money-grubbing owners.
At the same time, of course, there are always going to be cities out there willing to pay. If San Diego doesn’t want to fund a new stadium, then guess what: there will be cities lining up willing to do the Chargers’ and the NFL’s bidding.
This also leads me to wonder: what will the NBA think about this? Is the pull of all the cash in Seattle right now able to out-weigh the precedent this sets?
But, more than anything, this leads me to wonder: how long until the Sonics are able to sign Kevin Durant to a big money deal so he can finish his professional basketball career where he started?
Can we just stick me in a cryogenic chamber and wake me up in the future when all of this is settled and I can attend a Sonics game again?