When I was just a little child,
Happiness was there awhile.
Then from me, yeah, it slipped one day.
Happiness, come back, I say.
'cause if you don't come, I've got to go
Lookin' for happiness.
Well, if you don't come,
I've got to go
Lookin', Lord, for happiness, happpiness.
—Bob Marley, I’m Hurting Inside
Weeks after the decision that peeled the Sonics from Seattle like an old bandage, the exposed wound lingers, a pain which demands acknowledgement.
Summer league results dribble out of Las Vegas and Orlando, but the reasons for following them have vanished. Free agent nomads wander the NBA summertime desert, but their camels will not rest at our tent, because Seattle’s oasis has dried up.
My inclination is still to check the websites devoted to basketball in an attempt to scour out possibilities for the future of the Seattle Sonics – a backup point guard here, a trade there, hey, now we’ve got something! – but that inclination dwindles with each day. The sheer triviality of pro sports – camouflaged for so long by the joy associated with following my favorite team – is now painfully obvious.
And so, the reader asks, what is the point of Supersonicsoul? A fair, if painful, question. Likewise, a difficult one to answer.
On the one hand, to quote Gertrude Stein, there is no there there. Stein’s witty rejoinder referred to Oakland, her hometown, but the thought is apropos of this site. A website devoted to a team that pulls up stakes and moves away is devoid of meaning. Following the Oklahoma City team makes us pathetic, and what else is there? (You, in the back, saying I should root for the Blazers? I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that).
However, news continues to trickle out of the possible Howard Schultz lawsuit, and the shred of hope that Schultz’ legal eagles will prevail remains.
Better still, David Stern’s stranglehold on the NBA continues to loosen, with some beginning to trumpet the possibility of King David abdicating his throne. Stern, the man responsible more than anyone for foisting Clay Bennett upon the good people of Seattle, is also responsible for the icy relations between his fiefdom and this region. His Nixonian defiance of events notwithstanding, the Tim Donaghy saga may finally bring his reign to a close, and with a new commissioner, anything Seattle-related is possible.
But those events are in the distant future. What of the present? What should this website offer its readers, other than odd stories on Jim Farmer’s singing career, Kendall Gill’s future as a pugilist, or Shawn Kemp’s offspring?
Well, we’re attempting to answer that question by offering a bridge between the ghosts of Sonics past and the ghosts of Sonics future.
When author Sherman Alexie testified on behalf of Sonic fans everywhere this past June, he stated that the players were more than mere athletes, they were modern-day versions of Greek gods. It was an enjoyable and hilarious ode to the joy of being a Sonic fan.
And the famed Seattle author is right – in the sense that the players give inspiration and hope to thousands. With that nugget of inspiration in mind, we’ve decided to create our own, ramshackle version of the Greek Pantheon – the Supersonicsoul Hall of Fame.
Beginning next week, we’ll present to you a member of the Hall, with a new member to be unveiled in each of the following weeks. More than just statistical charts, each piece will offer a tribute by our in-house artist, Rafael, as well as memories and anecdotes by Paul and myself (well, mostly myself; Paul’s busy completing his doctoral thesis on the cumulative effects of napping).
At present, the Hall is slated to hold a dozen or so members. Naturally, there will be debate as to who should have been excluded or included, but that’s the whole point of the project, really; it’s to remind all of us why we loved the Sonics in the first place. More than the games themselves, it is the recollection of the games and the people who played them which matters most. It’s the memory of Detlef’s haircut, Sam’s flat-footed threes, Kemp’s dunk at MSG, McKey’s nonchalance, Haywood’s brilliance, Shelton’s elbows – it’s all of that and much, much more.
As Bob Marley wrote, I’m hurting inside, because happiness has gone away. But if happiness don’t come my way, well, I’ve got to go lookin’ for happiness.