You ever wonder how the present will be perceived in 50 or 100 years? When you think of a major historical event, unless you’re some kind of expert or history buff, you just know the broad strokes. Then, you see the volumes upon volumes of books on this very subject, and you realize there were a ton of intricacies involved to get you to those very broad strokes.
One thing in particular I wonder about when all is said and done: how will people choose to remember the whole Sonics debacle in 2007 and 2008? Because all those little things that got us to where we are today will eventually coalesce into one small footnote.
At the time, we held Clay Bennett in the highest of contempt, because he was actively lying to us, we KNEW he was lying to us, and yet he continued right on lying. Once the team left and the sting started to subside, we all adopted the platform we still hold to this very day (and will likely hold at least through the point where we get another team): Howard Schultz is an ass clown and it’s HIS fault we lost the Sonics.
But, I’m beginning to wonder, when it’s all said and done, in those aforementioned 50 or 100 years from now, when the Sonics are back in Seattle, emotions are settled, and we can once again focus on the GAME of basketball and not the politics of basketball, will we still hold the biggest grudge for Howard Schultz? Sure, maybe some of the old-timers, who are old enough to remember these lawless times when men were men; but I bet when this is just a speck of dust on the overall History of the NBA, the consensus reason for the Sonics originally leaving Seattle will be because the city and state government totally and completely dropped the ball.
We’ll see. I think this conversation will become much more clear in the ensuing years. As the city of Sacramento is taking its well-deserved victory lap, the wheels of my theory have already been set in motion. As a local and state government, only a wild pack of ninnies lets a major professional sports team walk away for practically nothing! You’re SUPPOSED to scratch and claw and do everything at your disposal to keep the team in the city. You’re SUPPOSED to exhaust all options. And, in the end, you’re SUPPOSED to cave in to the demands of the sports league. Because it’s just smart business. A little fucking taxes to pay for a fucking arena never hurt nobody!
Because, in the end, when you come to your senses and realize how important that franchise was to your city, it’s going to cost you a LOT more to try to bring them back than it would have to just keep them here in the first place.
I mean, honestly, what was Schultz asking for? A couple hundred million? I don’t remember the figure off the top of my head, but I know it wasn’t a lot. He wanted a couple/few hundred million to renovate Key Arena. The NBA signed off on it, so we were a go! But, the city shut that movement down, so the team was sold. What was once a $200 million deal for a renovated Key Arena turned into a $500 million deal with Clay Bennett to build an arena in Renton. Well, of course, if $200 million was denied, $500 million was out of the question! Now, it’s going to cost generous billionaires nearly a billion dollars to bring this team back, while the city gets its peach of a deal. But, at what cost? Well, so far, it’s been five full seasons without the NBA and counting. For other cities who have lost their teams, it has been a lot longer still.
Smart cities don’t get in the business of losing their franchises, because they spend the rest of eternity trying to get them back! We’re somewhat lucky to be in Seattle, because we have a bigger market than most, so the NBA and the NHL would like to get into bed with us. If you’re Kansas City or San Diego or Vancouver, you’re not quite as lucky. You’re likely to spend a lot longer waiting than we will.
So, now we have this whole mess with Glendale and the Phoenix Coyotes. Once again, Seattle is the Big, Bad Boogie Man, just like the deal with the Kings. If I’m 100% honest, I have a little more confidence in the NHL getting here before the NBA, but I’m reluctant to jump right into this belief that the Coyotes are coming to town.
If Glendale is smart, they’ll figure out a way to keep their team, just like Sacramento was smart and kept their team. If they flip off the NHL, then Seattle gets a new franchise and the Phoenix area waits about a hundred years before they get another taste of pro hockey.
A lot of people like to place the blame on the greedy-ass owners or the corrupt league commissioners. But, when push comes to shove, what it really boils down to is the greedy-ass AND corrupt local politicians who are only in it for their own interests. And, suffice it to say, their interests don’t coincide with sports leagues or the sports-loving common man.
But, just watch how fast they pull money out of their asses for another God damned art museum or classical music theater.