Forty-plus years of Sonics’ history may be history

With chants of “Save our Sonics” with a little “Clay Bennett sucks!” thrown in every once in awhile, the Sonics did their part in what could be the final game ever for the franchise in Seattle: win.

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2008 12:00am
  • Sports

Plenty of blame to go around in this debacle

With chants of “Save our Sonics” with a little “Clay Bennett sucks!” thrown in every once in awhile, the Sonics did their part in what could be the final game ever for the franchise in Seattle: win.

With Sonics legend Gary Payton in attendance, Seattle scored the games final 10 points to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 99-95 on April 13. The win could close the book the franchise has been writing since coming to town in 1966. Fans hope the sequel isn’t titled “Oklahoma City.”

That’s where Clay Bennett and his fellow co-owners want to take the franchise. Since the day the investors from Oklahoma City bought the franchise in July of 2006, it seems Bennett has had one foot out the door.

At the time, Bennett claimed the team would stay in Seattle. Little more than a year after the purchase, Bennett’s co-owner Aubrey McClendon told an Oklahoma City publication, “We didn’t buy the team to keep it in Seattle.” He was later fined $250,000 by the NBA for the comments.

And now, it seems, the moving vans are all but packed, the lights have turned off in Key Arena and all the fans are left with is a bitter taste in their mouths.

There certainly seems to be enough blame to go around.

Blame Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO who bought the team in 2001 and sold it (at a profit) to Bennett in 2006.

Blame Bennett and his group for trolling the NBA like sharks looking for blood for a team to take back home.

Blame the organization for not putting a consistent winner on the floor.

Blame the fans for not showing up.

Blame the city’s leaders for not stepping up.

Blame the state for passing up on various private attempts to offer money for a renovation to the Key.

Blame NBA commissioner David Stern for not only allowing, but also seemingly encouraging Seattle to lose its only professional men’s team to have won a league championship.

If it was the last game for the team in Seattle, it was a fitting end. Perhaps the most exciting player in franchise history, rookie Kevin Durant, led the team with 19 points to go out a winner.

Now, with the future uncertain, fans simply have to hope that the franchise isn’t history.


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