Tragedy + Travesty = Tragesty
Ahhh, Hurricane Katrina, forget the devastation, death and destruction, you were the cause of so many basketball related problems. Your wind and rain caused floods, wide-spread homelessness, and showed the world that rich white Texans (Connecticutians?) don’t care about black people!
Because of the storms and damage to the New Orleans Arena the Hornets were forced to take their one man show on the road to Oklahoma City, splitting games over the next two years between the Big Easy and the Big uh… Unassigned Lands? The great people of Oklahoma (the 44th largest metro area in the United States) proved they could support a professional basketball team better than these other places, and their collective appetite for a franchise of their own became insatiable.
In 2008 energy tycoon Clay Bennett, who purchased the Seattle SuperSonics from confused coffee magnate Howard Schultz, moved the team to his hometown of OKC and the collective wailing from the Pacific Northwest for a new team has yet to cease. Fast-forward five years, and the good people of Seattle have their sights set on getting a team back. The only problem is that it belongs to somebody else.
The Sacramento Kings, a team which for the first sixty years of its professional existence played in any city with a viable arena (Rochester, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Omaha) have been nestled in the sleepy hills of Calfornia’s Central Valley since 1985. However, the delicious irony of a city stealing a team from another city after having their team stolen from them, is overwhelming.
Somewhere Clay Bennett, now the head of the NBA’s relocation committee, is laughing.
Without re-hashing in detail all of the old arguments for (Seattle is a ‘big league’ city that is much cooler/metropolitan than podunk Sacramento, deserves to have a team because the Sonics were stolen from them and ARCO/Sleep Train Arena is a dump) and against (Seattle should be ashamed of themselves for supporting the NBA’s franchise carousel and its continued quest to suck every last tax dollar out of the coffers of American cities) I present a simple video created by YouTube User RyySin:
You can’t help but feel bad for Sacramento fans who have been portrayed as necessary collateral damage in this situation. Sacramento is a city which (until the last five years) has stood by their team through thick and thin. They definitely deserve better (Full disclosure: I have a Chris Webber Kings jersey, and a face like Hedo Turkoglu) but are unlikely to receive as much after David Stern’s franchise shell game ends.
Any city that put up with Pervis Ellison, the Maloof Bros., Eric Mussleman’s DUI, Ron Artest before the medication in LA evened him out, Ricky Berry’s suicide, Bobby Hurley’s car crash, Olden Polynice as the team’s ‘star’, the Anaheim relocation rumours, the Virginia Beach relocation rumours, the North Haverbrook relocation rumours and a Vlade Divac jersey retirement ceremony, should be able to keep their only professional sports franchise.
Sacramento in the late 90′s and early 00′s was a unique and loud place to watch a basketball game and the notion that Seattle deserves a team more than Sacramento is misguided. The Sonics should and will return to Seattle, but it should never come at the expense of a team which after 80 years of existence, seemed to finally find a home.