And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.”
I’m not a big believer in fate, at least not in a karmaic, “do one good turn” sort of way. Last night, though, got me to wondering.
I purposely avoided the 5:30 announcement of the lottery picks, afraid that the Sonics would draw the fifth, or even worse, slot. We had a couple of friends and their daughter over for dinner, and this being Canada, the topic of the NBA certainly didn’t come up.
By the time they left, it was time to put our daughter to bed. When she was born, a friend of mine gave me a Children’s Bible, and we read her a chapter out of it every night. Last night, fatefully, was the story of Lazarus. I’ll spare you the spiritual side of the story, because this is a basketball blog, not a Basketball for Jesus blog. But while I was reading the story – of a man raised from the dead to live again – I allowed myself to ponder the possibility of the Sonics grabbing a top two pick. Could it happen? Would we, the deadest basketball franchise in the NBA, be brought back from the brink?
Well, as they like to say in the Bible, it came to pass. The Seattle Supersonics, given up for dead by two ownership groups, a league, a city, a fanbase, have risen. Seattle, a city whose best-known music – grunge – is as inspirational as a funeral dirge, has joy. In one moment, the Sonics have passed the Mariners on the city’s radar and are within sight of the Seahawks.
Will Kevin Durant or Greg Oden bring a new stadium to Seattle? Who knows. Will either of those two men bring excitement to Seattle basketball? Without doubt.
And while many may despair in light of Portland’s winning ping pong ball, I say this: Isn’t it better to have both teams on the upswing? Yeah, I’ll admit to hating the Blazers, but it’s a helluva lot more fun to hate an equal than it is to hate an inferior opponent. The best part of the Sonic-Blazer rivalry has come when both teams were playoff contenders, and yesterday’s activity has put these two on that path again.
(Aside #1: As if yesterday’s news couldn’t get any better, don’t forget the Sonics own the Grizzlies’ 2nd-round pick, as well as their own. Which means the Sonics get the #2 pick, as well as the first (Brandon Rush?) and fifth picks of the 2nd round. Nice.)
(Aside #2: Kudos to the commenter who pointed out Bob Hill’s responsibility for both Tim Duncan and, now, Kevin Durant/Greg Oden. Unbelievable; the guy is like something out of a Woody Allen movie. Bob, thanks for the memories, and extra thanks for getting us Kevin Durant.)
As for the rest of the whining teams and fans complaining about their luck (or lack thereof): Tough. Boston fans, you seriously expect anyone to feel pity for you? Your NBA team has more banners than anyone, your NFL team routinely wins the Super Bowl, and your baseball team spends close to $200 million a year in payroll. Sorry you didn’t Greg Oden, but not that sorry. Memphis? Memphis? I’m supposed to feel sorry for a city with 10 minutes of NBA pain? People, Seattle has won one title in 40 years of professional sports. If you expect me to feel any sympathy for you, get in line. If you don’t like the way the lottery is set up, then you should thought about that before you tanked your seasons and extended your head coach (Boston) or let the best GM in NBA history walk away (Memphis).
For now, though, we’re feeling no pain. The sun is shining in the northwest, Seattle and Portland are back from the dead, and all is right with the world.