For once in my life, I’m speechless. So I’ll make this brief, because each word typed out on this keyboard makes me sick to write.
It’s finally over.
The Sonics are gone.
In Oklahoma City, the only thing left to do is officially name the team that packs its bags in Seattle and heads out after 41 years in the Emerald City. One thing is for sure: it won’t be the Sonics.
Sure, Clay Bennett took our team and our players. But he couldn’t take our name, colors, or history. All that will stay right here in Seattle as part of the city’s settlement with Bennett.
But what about our memories?
Well, big bad Clay took those, too.
Regardless of if the city gets another NBA team, and the prospects of that are frightening, Wednesday’s settlement spelled the end of an era in Seattle.
Even if another team comes to town, they won’t be the Sonics.
They’ll be someone else’s memories that we’re stealing away for the sake of our own.
It’s a bitter pill to swallow.
It will be hard to watch Kevin Durant dominate for a team not in the green and gold. It’d only been a year, but the kid from Texas captured our hearts.
It will be hard to look at Clay Bennett again. The Oklahoman’s victory speech, which brought tears to the thief’s eyes, was that extra little dagger in the Sonic’s fans back.
So what now?
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels says it’s now up to the state Legislature to approve public-spending on a Key Arena renovation. With the Sonics now gone from the city, why would the state be in any more of a hurry to approve renovation than they were when it might have made a difference?
The Legislature drug in its feet when it knew it might save the Sonics. With the team gone, I can’t imagine a publicly funded renovation becoming a priority.
Sure, there are teams that may be up for sale sometime – the New Orleans Hornets and Memphis Grizzlies come to mind – but even if they did come to Seattle, they’d never be anything but the Sonics in name and color.
Like a raider in the night, Clay Bennett swooped into town and stole an entire generation’s worth of memories.
It will likely be another generation before we can start making new ones.