Wednesday, July 2, 2008

MY MOTHER ALWAYS TOLD ME THAT IF YOU HAVE NOTHING TO SAY EXCEPT 'FUCK CLAY BENNETT,' YOU SHOULDN'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL. SO FUCK CLAY BENNETT: After letting the litigation run plenty long enough for everybody to realize that Clay Bennett and his business associates are a bunch of self-congratulatorily stupid liars, the people who bought the Seattle Supersonics -- notice that I didn't say the Sonics themselves -- settled with the City of Seattle and will be able to move the team to Oklahoma City right now. Bennett will pay Seattle $45 million plus another $30 million if Seattle doesn't get a team within the next five years.

The city didn't want the Sonics to leave and sued to keep them. The former owner didn't want them to leave and stunt-sued to make that point. The fans, who kept showing up even when Bennett ordered management to take a dive, didn't want the team to leave. My understanding is that the players -- especially Kevin Durant, who has embraced Seattle -- didn't want to leave. I think it's pretty fair to say that the only person outside of Oklahoma City who wanted the Sonics to go was David Stern, a lifelong friend of Bennett's and a guy whose interest is in having a credible threat to hold against cities that refuse to pour public money into new facilities every 15 years (yes, the last time Seattle rebuilt the Sonics' home on the public dime was 15 years ago). And now he's going to say to Seattle, you won't get another team until you pony up. Douchebag.

I've already vented my anguish at this inevitability, so I won't go back into my history, and the city's history, with the team. Instead, to Oklahoma City, I'll say this: First, I doubt you're going to use the name "Sonics," but if you're thinking about it, you don't deserve it. The team you are getting has no history. You have no right to hang the 1979 banner, no right to wear the green and gold, no right to take any pride in the Shawn Kemp highlight reel or the Jack Sikma perm. Second, I hope that whatever dumb-ass name your moron owner picks (incidentally, whatever name he picks, I hope it becomes a popular euphemism for abject, embarrassing failure), your team goes 10-72 every year (as bad as you can get without getting in the record books) until the novelty of having a basketball team wears off and you stop showing up or watching on TV and some other city comes sniffing around to steal what wasn't yours to begin with, at a loss to Bennett, leaving you with an expensive publicly funded empty arena. Third, I hope that Durant and Green and Westbrook play lethargically and grow to hate each other, biding their time until free agency, when they move to cities that didn't steal basketball teams, thereafter blossoming into legendary talents. Fourth, I hope at least one marquee free agent every year says publicly what every NBA player is thinking privately: "why on earth would I, an NBA player, voluntarily play there for that asshole?" Fifth, I hope you come to understand -- really, really come to understand -- exactly what kind of people you're in bed with. You know, the ones who are already squeezing you for public money and who joked that their contributions to anti-gay rights causes would grease the skids for the trip out of Seattle. Put it this way: if you don't reject them, then you deserve each other. And by the way, if you agree with the owners on that last one, then I hope that the first time an active NBA player comes out of the closet, it's in Oklahoma City, because that way you can buy yourself some extra agita for your homophobia.

The Sonics are now a story with a fixed beginning and a fixed end. They have a title (like I hope OKC never will) and a history and a long line of great, entertaining, and beloved players. They have fans who grew up with the Sonics and will always be fans of the real Sonics and have memories, great memories, of the Sonics. That belongs to us, not you, and no matter what else you and Clay Bennett can steal from us, you can never have that.

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