Thursday, December 1

Worst Owner Ever?

And you thought Howard Schultz was bad!

From Deadspin:
Last month, we shared with you the bare details of Dan Borislow's brief, messy reign as owner of magicJack, the franchise that Women's Professional Soccer elected to terminate in late October after just a single season of play in Boca Raton, Fla. 
Borislow was uncooperative with the league; he refused to set up a front office or a website and he alienated longtime WPS sponsors. But why would someone run a team he'd purchased into the ground? Then, this week, a tipster sent along the WPS's filing against Borislow's motion for temporary injunction (viewable below, along with the accompanying exhibits). It turns out that Dan Borislow might just be a terrible human—or maybe he just comes off that way in his emails.
 In summary, this guy was allegedly such a horrible owner that not only did the league banish him, but they got rid of his entire team. Can you imagine if this happened in the NBA? Which team would you erase (I mean, besides the obvious)?

Tuesday, November 29

Kemp is back! (In Kent?!)

According to the Kent Reporter (and my brother), Shawn Kemp will be making an appearance at a fund-raiser for K-M basketball this weekend. Also, SHAWN KEMP LIVES IN MAPLE VALLEY?!?
Marvena Kemp says it's doubtful her husband Shawn Kemp will play in the inaugural Hoopfest at Kent-Meridian High School
"He might but I doubt it," Kemp said about the former NBA player who lives in Maple Valley. "He's rehabbing from flag football. But he will come out to support it." 
Teams can still sign up for the Dec. 3-4 event. Games will run from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Proceeds will benefit the Kent-Meridian girls basketball team to help pay for uniforms , travel to tournaments and other expenses.
Read the whole story here.

The fact that Shawn Kemp now lives in the small town that all three of the Supersonicsoul writers grew up in is my nomination for Ironic Twist of The Year. If he ends up coaching at Tahoma, I might explode.

Monday, November 28

The NBA takes basketball away from Seattle AGAIN!

Even LeBron feels our pain. 

As if taking our team away wasn't enough, the stupid NBA ended their stupid strike over the stupid weekend, thus killing the closest thing we'll have to pro basketball in Seattle for a while.

Due to a weekend agreement ending the NBA lockout, and players reporting to training camps on December 9, the Jamal Crawford H206 Classic scheduled to take place December 15 at the Alaska Airlines Arena at the University of Washington has been canceled.  All tickets purchased will be refunded by noon this Thursday, December 1st.  Crawford and A PLUS Youth Program are discussing possible dates for a rescheduled summer 2012 game.  Updates will be given via the H206 website ( and via Facebook and Twitter (FB: Hoops 206 Charity Basketball Classic) (@jcrossover and @hoops206).    

Tuesday, November 22

Your Christmas List . . .

. . . should include this!

Wheedle's Groove: Seattle's Finest In Funk & Soul 1965-1979 Limited Editions 45s Box Set. The pinnacle prize of vintage Seattle soul!  
First 50 PRE-ORDERS AFTER NOVEMBER 25th received 2 autographed photos and a set of 16 replica Seattle SuperSonics trading cards!

For more info, go here! (Thanks to the Light In The Attic's Pat Thomas for the tip!)

Friday, November 18

O really?

Not related to basketball, but there's an article on Deadspin that Supersonicsoul scribe and University of Oregon fanatic Pete Nussbaum should think about while watching his favorite team play this weekend . . .

The New York Times shared an important revelation out of Eugene, Ore. yesterday, and we wanted to pass it on because we are immature: the spade-shaped Oregon "O" that Ducks fans so enthusiastically make to show support for the team means "vagina" in American Sign Language.

Read the rest on Deadspin.

Tuesday, November 15

Keltner List: Jack Sikma

In lieu of the previous story about Spencer Haywood and his Hall of Fame bona fides, here's a Keltner List for Jack Sikma.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in basketball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in basketball? Only once in his long career did Sikma get any first-place votes for MVP (4 votes in 1978-79) and that had likely as much to do with his team’s spectacular season as it did to his play, so I think it is safe to say that he was never really considered the best player in the league. Considering that in his best season statistically (1981-82) he finished ninth in the voting, it is utterly realistic to answer NO to both questions.

2. Was he the best player on his team? YES. Sikma led the Sonics in win shares seven of the nine seasons he spent there, and twice in Milwaukee.

3. Was he the best player in basketball at his position? NO. Sikma had the misfortune of being a center alongside Moses, Kareem, and Hakeem, so even in his very best season (1981-82) he was second fiddle to Malone.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of NBA Finals or Conference Finals? YES. Sikma was a crucial piece of the Sonics’ back-to-back appearances in the Finals, and their three straight appearances in the Western Conference Finals. Further, he led the bucks to within a game of defeating the mighty Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in 1986-87.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime? YES. In his final season, at age 35, Sikma started 44 games for a Milwaukee team that finished 48-34 and served as the team’s sixth man in a first-round playoff loss to Philadelphia.

6. Is he the very best (eligible) basketball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame? NO. According to Basketball Reference, Sikma ranks 4th in Hall of Fame probability among those eligible for the Hall who have not been selected, trailing Jo-Jo White, Willie Naulls, and Chet Walker. He is essentially tied with Mitch Richmond and Bob Dandridge.

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame? YES and NO. Wes Unseld, Bob Lanier, Pat Ewing, Robert Parish are among those with comparable statistics to Sikma, although his field goal percentage is significantly lower due to his proclivity for outside jumpers (his TS% - true shooting percentage – is more in line with the enshrinees). However, Sikma is also alongside players such as Kevin Willis and Otis Thorpe; certainly great players, but not Hall of Famers.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards? YES. There are 16 players in NBA history with 17,000 points and 10,000 rebounds and Sikma, Willis, and Thorpe are the only eligible candidates not currently in the Hall.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his basic statistics? YES. As mentioned earlier, Sikma’s shooting percentage was always lower than most superstar centers, but his ability to hit 3’s, knock down free throws, and rebound like a maniac were underappreciated during his career. Want to hear something amazing? With a career 24.8 defensive rebounding percentage, Sikma ranks higher than Wes Unseld, Patrick Ewing, and Nate Thurmond, and his offensive rebounding percentage of 7.6 is almost equal to Karl Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Ewing. Many basketball followers allowed themselves to be fooled by the afro and skin color, but Sikma was more than just a guy who hit outside jumpers. He twice led the league in defensive win shares and topped the NBA with a 28.0 DRB in 1981-82. Finally, since the merger, Sikma is the only center to lead the league in free throw percentage.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame? YES. I can’t think of another center more deserving than Sikma right now.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close? NONE and NO. Sikma received some consideration in 1978-79, but that was his high-water mark.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame? Sikma participated in seven consecutive All-Star games from 1979 to 1985. He deserved consideration for a couple seasons in Milwaukee, but none that qualified as ridiculous oversights. However, almost every player with seven All-Star appearances is in the Hall of Fame (Chet Walker and Jo-Jo White join Sikma as eligible non-enshrinees).

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win an NBA title? YES. Sikma led the 1978-79 Sonics in win shares and they won the title. Enough said?

14. What impact did the player have on basketball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way? Was his college and/or international career especially noteworthy? Not much to see here. Sikma certainly got some notice for being such a productive outside shooter as a big man, paving the way for others to do the same, but it’s not as if the NBA was inundated with 6’11” 3-point shooters after he retired. His college career was spent in the anonymity of Illinois Wesleyan and he had no international experience of which I am aware. More than anything, Sikma is remembered for his distinctive hairstyles.

Verdict? Sikma clearly ranks on the fringe of NBA Hall of Famers. Had he spent his career in Boston or New York, it’s rather obvious he’d be in the Hall already as there are plenty of statistically inferior examples who don’t have to pay to get into Springfield.

However, Sikma spent his career in Seattle and Milwaukee, which is great if you’re interested in cheese, lattes, or beer, but not so great if you’re interested in grabbing national headlines. As an overlooked member of an overlooked championship team, Sikma’s achievements never registered the attention he deserved.

Enough blathering, you say: Does Jack Sikma deserve to be inducted into the Hall of Fame? My answer? Yes.

Monday, November 14

BREAKING NEWS: Players Union Rejects Deal, Season in Jeopardy

According to ESPN, the NBA Players Association has rejected the latest collective bargaining agreement proposal from the owners, making it even more likely there will be no NBA basketball this season. You can see the official Supersonicsoul response here.

Lockout Cards: Adam Silver

Tuesday, November 1

Spencer and Crew

Pictured left to right: "Downtown" Julie Brown, Flavor Flav, Chuck D, Spencer Haywood, and Vernell DeSilva (a long-time friend of Haywood's). Photo was taken in the early 1990s (that Sox logo didn't show up in Chicago until 1991). Reproduced from Haywood's book The Rise, The Fall, The Recovery, written with Scott Ostler.

George Karl Talking Sonics

The Denver Nuggets' website has been running a series of interviews with George Karl, each focusing on a different year of Karl's amazing coaching career.

Naturally, a large chunk of those clips are focused upon Karl's work in Seattle, and ... wait, did you think this was going to be about the Sonics/Nuggets series? Seriously, how much self-loathing do you think I have? Do you think I flail myself while looking at a poster of Dikembe Mutombo every night before bed? Still?

No, no, no. This particular video covers the Sonics' great run in the 1993 playoffs, as they knocked off Utah and Houston before falling to Phoenix (and their two "helpers") in the Western Conference Finals.

To me, the most amazing part is Karl's incredible ability to recollect facts from those games, nearly 20 years later. More than anything, it illustrates the gap between fan and participant; as fans we enjoy these games, then go about our lives afterwards, but to those involved closely, they are their lives. The fact Karl was able to recall that the Sonics scored only 30 points in the first half and followed it up with 70 in the second half of Game 5 against Utah is marvelous (you can see the box score here).

If nothing else, check out the video to see Sam Perkins hit multiple threes. It will forever remain a mystery to me how that shot never got blocked.

Monday, October 31

Halloween: Sonic Edition II

Should have thrown this up there instead. Still funny/painful.

Halloween: Sonic Edition

From the archives:

Hey kids, Halloween is inching closer, and if you haven’t grabbed your costume yet and you’re hoping to infuse your evening with green and gold, look no further!

Herewith our recommendations for the Top 5 Sonic Halloween Outfits:

1. The Danny Fortson
If you’re in the need of the costume that delivers the goods, go with Da Fort! With the way Da Fort grabs rebounds, you can only imagine how fast he can grab a Tootsie Roll! Comes with hair extensions, stomach pouch, and “rump filler.”

2. The Shawn Kemp
Nothing says b-a-d like a loaded pistol and a bag of mysterious substances. You can trick AND treat with this great costume! Plus, ask some neighbourhood kids to come with you and you’ve got your own “Kemp family posse!” Optional “rump filler” included with “Orlando Shawn” outfit.

3. The Michael Cage
There are good Halloween looks and then there are great Halloween looks. Your costume will come with a 26-oz. container of “Soul Glow” hair gel, shoulder enhancers, and lime green leisure suit. If that kid in front of you at Mrs. Johnson’s house thinks he’s getting those Kit-Kats, he better come correct, or not at all.

4. The George Karl
Finding that you’ve been struggling through the first half of your candy collecting evening? Then fire your underperforming costume and get The George Karl! Comes with imitation moustache scar, mock turtleneck, and 4-page booklet “Getting Candy the Karl Way.” Bob Kloppenburg puppet optional. Please note that costume will begin to fall apart in 2nd and 3rd year of use.

5. The Frank Brickowski
Sometimes, you’ve got to want the candy more than the other kids. With the “Brick” costume, you’ll be ready to roll to the corner of the door frame. Comes with “Pushing for Pop Rocks” booklet and faux flat top hair cut.

Friday, October 28

Schultz for President?!

Doyle McManus of the LA Times reports that a group called "Americans Elect" is aiming to put a third-party presidential candidate on the ballot in all 50 states, and one of their possible candidates is long-time Sonic supporter, Howard Schultz.

To be fair, Schultz is the last of more than a handful of possibilities McManus mentions, so please don't think of this as anything more than pure speculation, but, still, it makes one wonder:

*Just how effective would a man obsessed with five-year plans do when confronted with a four-year term of office?

*Is it possible that after three years of frustration in leading the country, Schultz would sell the U.S. to a Canadian oil tycoon, who would in turn move the U.S. to Winnipeg?

*Offended at the lack of respect shown towards him, would Schultz deal Jon Stewart to Belgium for a comedian to be named later?

*Might he replace milk in school cafeterias with cappuccinos?

*Lecture everyone about how to do things the right way, all the while continuing to further erode America's economy by expanding from 50 to 137 states in 2 years, then being forced to cut back to 39 states (sorry, Dakotas) after he nearly bankrupted the nation?

I'm betting on the last one.

(via Seattle PI)

Thursday, October 27

Spencer Haywood: Keltner List

With the possible induction of Spencer Haywood in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and in deference to the wonderful Basketball-Reference and Bill James, here's a Keltner List for the former Mr. Iman.

1. Was he ever regarded as the best player in basketball? Did anybody, while he was active, ever suggest that he was the best player in basketball? It’s possible. Haywood never finished higher than fifth in MVP voting, although he did receive two first-place votes in 71-72 and four in 72-73. By the loosest definition, some people felt he was the most valuable player in the league, albeit a very small number of people, so, yes, he was considered the best player in basketball. Also of note, Haywood was the MVP of the ABA in his rookie season.

2. Was he the best player on his team? Absolutely. From his first pro season in Denver, his entire career in Seattle, and into his first campaign with the Knicks, Haywood was the best player on his team.

3. Was he the best player in basketball at his position? I think it could be safely argued that Haywood was the premier power forward in the ABA in 69-70 and in the NBA in 71-72 and 72-73. He turned over that crown to Elvin Hayes in 73-74, then, well, the rest was history.

4. Did he have an impact on a number of NBA Finals or Conference Finals? No. Haywood had a chance in 1979-80 with the Lakers, but a debilitating drug addiction proved his undoing. He did, however, lead the Denver Rockets to the ABA Finals in 69-70.

5. Was he good enough that he could play regularly after passing his prime? Yes. This is a difficult one to answer, but I think that the fact that even after destroying his career with drugs and spending a year in Italy, Haywood was able to come back to the NBA with Washington for two seasons indicates that his talent was enough to sustain him even after his prime had come and gone.

6. Is he the very best (eligible) basketball player in history who is not in the Hall of Fame? No. According to B-R, Haywood ranks 107th in Hall of Fame probability, trailing Jamaal Wilkes, Bob Dandridge, Jack Sikma, Chet Walker, Willie Naulls, Mel Hutchins, and others.

7. Are most players who have comparable statistics in the Hall of Fame? A mixed bag. Again, turning to B-R, Haywood’s similarity score companions are not, for the most part, HOFers. Of the 10 players most similar to Haywood, only two are in the Hall. It should be noted, however, that the player who truly most resembles Haywood, Connie Hawkins, is in the HOF. However, if you look at players with 19 ppg, 9 rpg, and TS% of 52.1, you’re looking at, basically, Hall of Famers.

8. Do the player’s numbers meet Hall of Fame standards? Yes. Haywood is at the bottom of the list due to his lack of games played, but his compatriots are, generally, either in the Hall or will be. However, it’s worth noting that his HOF probability (via B-R) is 51.6%. What does that mean, you ask? Well, Vince Carter’s is more than 85%, so take that into consideration.

9. Is there any evidence to suggest that the player was significantly better or worse than is suggested by his basic statistics? No. As the premier offensive option on his team, Haywood reaped the benefits of having the ball whenever he needed it for the first half of his career. Considering that his primary skill was in scoring and grabbing rebounds, and that those two statistical categories are the most rewarded in NBA history, I think he got his due.

10. Is he the best player at his position who is eligible for the Hall of Fame? Ironically, Haywood’s chief competition is another former Sonic, Jack Sikma. It’s a classic case of peak value vs. career value. On the one hand, you’ve got a superstar who grabbed All-NBA honors for a five-year span, but who was useless for the latter half of his career. On the other, you’ve got a crucial member of numerous playoff teams who was an excellent player well into his 30s. If forced to choose, and with no outside considerations factoring in, I think the Hall would opt for Sikma first and Haywood second.

11. How many MVP-type seasons did he have? Did he ever win an MVP award? If not, how many times was he close? One MVP in the ABA, none in the NBA. He was in the top five in voting once, but never made the top five in win shares at any point in his NBA career.

12. How many All-Star-type seasons did he have? How many All-Star games did he play in? Did most of the players who played in this many All-Star games go into the Hall of Fame? Haywood played in four NBA All-Star games and one ABA All-Star game. It is relatively certain that had he spent all of 1970-71 on a basketball court rather than a federal one he would have made it to five NBA All-Star games. Even giving credit to Haywood for 1970-71, his fellow five-timers include Brad Daugherty, Marques Johnson, Wayne Embry, Rudy LaRusso, Rudy Tomjanovich, Chris Webber, and Paul Westphal. To make it more extreme, you could give Haywood credit for 1969-70, giving him six appearances, tying him with (wait for it) … Shawn Kemp! Anyways, back to the original question; Haywood played in four All-Star games, tying him with 41 other players, of whom 34 are eligible for the Hall. Of those 34, nine are in the HOF.

13. If this man were the best player on his team, would it be likely that the team could win an NBA title? Well, Haywood was the best player on his team for half a decade, and none of those teams made the Conference Finals, let alone the NBA Finals. Does that mean that if he had been drafted by, say, the Knicks rather than the Sonics in the early 1970s he would have been making annual appearances in the NBA Finals? I’d say no. Haywood’s off-court problems seemed to surface no matter where he went, and I think his best situation was as a big fish in a small pond.

14. What impact did the player have on basketball history? Was he responsible for any rule changes? Did he introduce any new equipment? Did he change the game in any way? Was his college and/or international career especially noteworthy? Well, now. He helped overturn the NBA’s rule against early-entry, so, yeah, he certainly had a major impact in that way. Further, he earned a Gold Medal for the US in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, and was the leader for that team as well.

Verdict? At his peak, Spencer Haywood was a first-ballot Hall of Famer. However, that peak was sadly cut short by injuries and drugs. The argument, essentially, comes down to this: Does his involvement in ending the early-entry rule push his candidacy from borderline to certainty? To many, the answer is yes, and considering how cavalierly the Hall hands out membership, I don’t think it’s ridiculous to suggest that he “deserves” enshrinement. Personally, I would vote no, simply because his on-court career was lacking, and that he – rather than outside forces – was responsible for that. But, hey, if the Hall can induct the entire roster of the 1960s Boston Celtics, then, yes, I suppose there’s room for Mr. Haywood.

Wednesday, October 26

Spencer Haywood and the Hall of Fame

Have you ever had the feeling that you missed out on something? That everyone knows about a story except for you, and you sit there like a fool, completely oblivious?

That's what is happening to me with Spencer Haywood and the Hall of Fame. In July, you might recall, we noticed that Haywood wrote in an online chat at the Seattle Times he was entering the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2012.

I was, to say the least, surprised to hear this. While it had been established that Haywood was among the nominees for the 2012 class, nothing had been confirmed yet, and no media outlet, to my knowledge, had published that story. Further, Haywood has been a nominee in the past, so he's fully aware that being a nominee doesn't necessarily guarantee enshrinement. Former Seattle Sonic Dennis Johnson waited more than a dozen years before he got the call to the Hall, and Haywood has, obviously, waited even longer.

And, yet, Haywood is at it again. In an article posted today at the Huffington Post, Haywood not only states he is going into the Hall in 2012, he even contemplates what he's going to say in his induction speech.

Again, I'll throw it out there: Is Spencer Haywood in the Hall of Fame? Is he being presumptuous, or is he merely just scooping the nomination committee's official statement later this year?

Curiouser and curiouser.

Wednesday, October 19

Wait, Didn't Alanis Morissette Sing About This Already?

I hope I'm not the only one who noticed the irony in Bill Simmons' latest column at ESPN. Essentially, it boils down to this:

The NBA better watch out because if they cancel this season, people are going to abandon the league for hockey.

Yes, hockey, the same sport that canceled its season five years ago. Look, people, I've said it before and I'll say it again - the NBA can, and will, survive a canceled season, a half-season, or a three-quarter season. There is no possible way the NHL will ever overtake the NBA in popularity - it's just impossible.

On the one hand you have hockey, which enjoys a participation rate that dropped 20 percent in a recent survey.

On the other hand you have basketball, which is the MOST POPULAR SPORT with young children in the U.S., drawing more than 25 million participants every year.

Then you add in the NCAA, high schools, rec leagues, gym games ... I mean, can you imagine anyone less egotistical than Simmons even suggesting that the NHL even had a chance at passing the NBA in popularity?

And when you add in the fact that the NHL abandoned its fans for an entire season, and yet rebounded to better popularity, how can anyone in their right mind even remotely believe that the NBA losing a season will impact its' popularity long-term?

Maybe I'm missing something here, but it just seems ludicrous to me that the NBA's prospective canceled season should be causing anyone any worry. Yes, hardcore fans will miss some games and our annual Christmas tradition of watching overhyped regular season contests lull us into post-turkey naps might disappear, but, eventually, the league will return.

And so will its fans.

Tuesday, October 18

Aubrey: Whole Foods and the NBA

Whole Foods Market opened in Fridayland this week across from the Chesapeake Energy Campus and Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon, who is credited with bringing WFM to the city, said in his travels he noticed Whole Foods in Jackson, Ms., and other regional cities and decided to try to bring the organic food marketer to OKC.

“Turns out it was easier to get an NBA team than a Whole Foods,” quipped McClendon.

/Bangs head against keyboard

Oklahoma City Friday)

Monday, October 10

NBA Lockout: Good riddance!

Last week Pete wrote a great piece about the NBA lockout.  I was going to throw in my unsolicited two-cents, but Jeff MacGregor at ESPN beat me to it. His article pretty much sums up my feelings on the lockout and the NBA in general, especially this passage: 

Let it fail. I'm tired of being played for a sucker. 
There's basketball everywhere. 
In an economy this bad, most of us will be happy to watch college ball the next six months; or the satellite package withLega Basket Serie A on it and the Israeli Basketball Super League, down at the corner bar; or we'll thumb through our own season on the Xbox. Or just watch the kids play in the driveway. These are lean days, Clueless Billionaire. 
Or maybe the players will start their own league and barnstorm from armory to armory the way they did it back when. The value in the NBA is the talent, after all. And as start-ups go, it wouldn't cost much: just $89 to incorporate in Delaware. Call it the Peoples' Traveling Basketball League (patent pending). Twenty bucks a seat.
Read the rest of the article at ESPN.

At this point, I would MUCH rather see an independent league run by the players, for the players, than the current rich guy, country club economic model they have now. Wouldn't you?

Friday, October 7

Just Walkin'

Marvin Webster and his fiancee, Madeira Meadows, as they stroll across the Morgan State campus in the early 1970s. Madeira passed away in 1992 and Marvin, as you'll recall, passed away just two years ago. For a nice story about how Marvin Webster affected the life of a young Seattle boy, be sure to visit Sweva's P-Patch.

(Photo via Sports Illustrated).

Thursday, October 6

Lockout Rant

I haven't written too much about the lockout because, in all honesty, I think everyone else is as sick of it as I am.

Look, you've got lawyers, meetings, contracts, and David Stern - it's the perfect combination of everything Americans hate. We'd much rather look at 20-year-old YouTube clips of Shawn Kemp dunks than ... wait, hey, come back here!

As I was saying, I haven't written too much about the lockout, and I'm not interested in writing (and I'm guessing you're not interested in reading) what I think is the best way to solve this mess. 53% of BRI, 50% of BRI, no more long-term deals, no more Bird rights ... I just don't care, and I'm not nearly smart enough to figure out an easy way to solve it.

What I am interested in, though, is the perception that exists that the NBA is on the verge of blowing some sort of "momentum" that it built up during last year's playoffs. This, friends, is garbage, and the people who run the NBA know it.

They know it because they know we're all a bunch of suckers. Look, the NHL - a league who plays in the shadows and edges of sport society, a sport with a participation rate approximately 3 notches below lacrosse among American youth - gave up an entire season half a decade ago, and how do you think that hurt them?

Not at all.

If you're curious, that's the per-game attendance for the NHL for every season since 2000-01, with the exception of 2004-05, when there was no season. Now, can you tell me how the absence of the league for an entire season negatively affected the NHL? I sure as hell can't, and those numbers include Phoenix, where hockey is about as popular as pro-immigration lectures, and Atlanta, a city which so loved its team that it staged a massive rally when they left for Winnipeg this summer.

The people that run the NBA know they'll survive because even when they roast a fan-base over a pit full of hot coals, then douse them with whatever they use to get the diseases out of locker room hot tubs, those fanbases still clamor for more. For crying out loud, in Seattle, home to the whiniest fans on the planet, we're still itching for more NBA. Sacramento, even when their owners treat them worse than they do their airplane latrine staff, is falling all over itself to keep the NBA in town.

So spare me the rhetoric about how the NBA is "blowing its chance" to build on a successful post-season, or that the lockout - if it costs the league an entire season - will devastate the NBA's popularity in North America. It's all crap, because the people that run this league know full well what its fans are.


Wednesday, October 5

Name that Sonic - Hollywood Edition

Yes, believe it or not, this handsome devil was once a Seattle Supersonic. Any guesses? 
(click "read more" for the answer.)

Monday, October 3

The X-Man talks with SLAM

Da X-Man

Long-time Sonic fans will enjoy this Q&A with Seattle fan favorite Xavier McDaniel speaking with SLAM Online.

My favorite 'A' came at the very end of the interview:

I am not a high maintenance person. When you are, a lot of guys have problems. If something comes along, it comes along. And if it don’t, it don’t.

Xavier McDaniel: Future Buddhist?

Saturday, October 1

Arena Gets Political Backing

Natasha Ryan of KING reports that Rep. Mike Hope (and isn't that an aptly named man if there ever was one) has drafted legislation that would fund a prospective arena for Seattle to replace KeyArena, and, possibly, bring the NBA back to the Emerald City.

Rep. Hope would bring $150 million to the table by introducing a new tax on athletes who play at the arena, one which he says is similar to those used in other arenas around the country, as well as a specialty license plate for Sonic fans, which he hopes will raise upwards of $10 million.

There is also talk of the arena being able to hold an NHL team as well, but, obviously, this is all veeeery premature. Stay tuned.

(via KING5)

Thursday, September 29

Most Offensive Thing You'll See Today (Now With Bonus Update!)

Or any day. Ever.



As always, Supersonicsoul is late to the party on this one (hey, it's not my fault that I don't obsessively follow Twitter and Facebook; I've got kids on my lawn!).

Anyways, it looks like the whole fiasco started with Off-Season.

Who created this mess, you ask? Well, that's a fellow named Mark in Florida, who thought it would be clever to piss off every one who ever lived in the 206 area code at some point in their life. Here's the tag line Mark came up with to sell his "product:"

You can't bring the Sonics back to Seattle but we've done the second best thing: bring the old Sonics logo to Oklahoma City. Maybe that's not the second best thing, but bitter Sonics fans and converted Thunder fans alike can now rep with pride!

Okay, that's just stupid, but whatever. Clearly, Mark didn't care if he ruffled a few feathers if it meant he could double his usual t-shirt sales to, I don't know, six, I guess. (Zing!). Unfortunately, that's when things started to get a little ugly for our friend, Mark, as the Bring Back Our Sonics entity on Facebook got wind of it, and their followers started harassing the heck out of poor, silly Mark. To make matters worse, it appears that ol' Mark wasn't even born in the US, and, indeed, is an ESL fellow, meaning he probably never anticipated the crapstorm he was about to walk into.

But back to NBA Offseason, the purveyors of this garbage. After numerous emails, voice mails, and complaints from Sonic fans, they issued this statement (shown in partial form here):

The intention with this particular shirt was to highlight the Seattle Sonics situation. The Oklahoma City Thunder are originally from Seattle and should still be in Seattle. There never was any malicious intent with it. We were not attempting to be disrespectful of a passionate fan base; we were highlighting the difficult situation between Sonics and Thunder fans, in our own humorous way.

Again, as lame as lame can be. While someone who wasn't born in this country might be able to hide by a language defense, the people at NBA Off-Season should have known that this sort of thing would have bothered the heck out of Sonic fans. Even worse, I can't see anyone in OKC considering buying this piece of crap either, which means it was just a crass attempt at bolstering their pathetic company's name.

Good work, fellas.

Bucky, Brisker and a Beretta

One of the briefest tenures in the Sonics' head coaching chair belonged to Bucky Buckwalter, who "led" Seattle to a 13-24 record during the 1972/73 season. Perhaps his only notable accomplishment with the club was being the last white guy to coach the Sonics until George Karl nearly 20 years later.

Anyways, Buckwalter is about to be inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame (and no, smart aleck, it's not because he lost to the Blazers as the Sonics coach), and the former Portland executive regaled Matt Calkins of The Columbian with some great early 1970s hoops stories, including this classic involving the legendary John Brisker:

... a couple weeks later in Detroit, [Brisker] introduced Buckwalter to his two brothers — both of whom had just been released from prison and were seeking tickets.

Buckwalter provided them with two just behind the Sonics’ bench, but quickly regretted the decision as the brothers bombarded him with complaints about Brisker not being on the court.

“Settle down!” Buckwalter snapped. “He’ll be in in a second.”

That’s when one of the brothers pulled back his jacket and revealed a gun.

“I looked down the bench and said ‘John, get in,’ ” Buckwalter recalled. “It was about then I realized head coaching was a perilous job.”

The rest of the article makes for great reading, although, sadly, there aren't any other firearm stories to be had.

(Via The Columbian).

Wednesday, September 28

Sonics Fans and the Lockout

With the Sonics leaving lo those many years ago, I think it is safe to say that Seattle's NBA fans have fallen into two camps: Those that still follow the league and those that wish David Stern would choke to death while in mid-scoff.

That in mind, I'm curious how most folks around here regard the impending lockout. For many of us, the thought of not having pro basketball on television for a prolonged period is a horrifying prospect. For others, the idea of seeing owners, players, fans, and everyone else be forced to endure what we have endured - even if for only a year - is a schadenfreude-filled joy.

So, in which ring do you cast your hat? Are you rejoicing at NBA armageddon, or are you biting your fingernails with anxiety at an NBA-free winter?

Thursday, September 22

Must Read: The Sonics & Pearl Jam

If you haven't read it already, be sure to visit Seth Kolloen's wonderful story on Deadspin about how the Sonics and Pearl Jam were so marvelously intertwined during the 1990s. Even though it's nothing new to die-hard Sonic fans/Seattlites, it's still a fantastic read.

Tuesday, September 20

Warning: David Stern Rant

According to the LA Times, David Stern is the best commissioner in all of professional sports, and while it is difficult to argue a subjective analysis, it is easy to argue the facts the author lays out in Stern's defense.

Helene Elliott points out that - while the ongoing lockout has tarred his legacy - Mr. Stern will leave office as the best leader professional sports has known. To prove it, she quotes Scott Rosner, the associate director of Wharton Sports Business initiative at the University of Pennsylvania:

"To think about where this sport was when he took over in the early '80s, so many teams losing money — the majority of the teams losing money — the Finals were on tape delay in many markets across the country, and David has brought that league to where it is."

Point One - Tape Delay
This is a falsity, and an "associate director of Whatever" should know it. Stern became commissioner of the NBA in 1984 and CBS began broadcasting live coverage of the NBA Finals (and playoffs, for that matter) in 1982. Only a fool would give Stern any credit for that achievement. Is it possible that some markets were still opting to tape-delay the games in 1984, even though CBS was broadcasting them live? Certainly, but to think that Stern's leadership - and not the Lakers/Celtics phenomenon - was the main factor is beyond ludicrous, it's just flat-out idiotic.

Point Two - Profitable Teams
Excuse me, but are we not in the middle of a lockout caused by the fact that nearly all the teams are losing money? How is this any different than the situation Stern inherited 30 years ago?

Stern - and his boosters - cannot have it both ways. If, as he claims, the NBA is bereft of profitable teams, then he needs to take responsibility for that. If, however, he is a great commissioner and his teams are making bundles of money, then why are they trying to bend the players over a park bench?

Just because David Stern had the good fortune to get his job precisely when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were leading the pre-eminent franchises in the league and months before the greatest professional athlete in American history was set to debut for the Chicago Bulls doesn't mean he's a genius, or the best commissioner in America, or any of that crap.

It just means he was pretty damned lucky.

Wednesday, September 14

Name That Sonic: Lumberjack Division

Can you name this hirsute Seattle Sonic from years gone by? I've obscured the jersey number just to make it less than completely obvious.

Tacoma Sonics? Oh, Please

The Tacoma City Council, seemingly intent on getting their names in the newspaper this week, have put out the question: What would it take to make the Tacoma Dome an acceptable arena for either the NHL or the NBA?

Of course, the correct answer is lots of strippers, but the council isn't interested in that, they're more interested in how much money it would take to get the 29-year-old building into something resembling pro-sports-ready status. $45 million? $145 million? $3.1 billion?

Anyone with a nickel's worth of common sense would tell you that there is no way 17,000 people are going to make the drive down I-5 at 6:30 to watch a basketball game (Anyone out there remember what it was like in 1994-95? Care to re-enact that fiasco? I didn't think so.).

And that's what it boils down to. It's conceivable that the NHL would give it a look, but even that's pushing it. Any professional sports team in this region that wants to be successful is going to need to draw people from the greater Seattle area, which means either a team in downtown or on the eastside, not Tacoma, no how matter how much money they put into renovating the Tacoma Dome.

(via Bellingham Herald)

Tuesday, September 13

Sonic Library: This Game's the Best

No team in Sonics history received more attention than the mercurial Payton/Kemp team of the 1990s.

Despite the fact they never earned a championship, that team had no fewer than four books written about it which, combined with the fact that the teenagers that followed that crazy bunch religiously are now in their 20s and 30s (and, gulp, 40s), means the Reign Man and the Glove will forever be in our consciousness.

Three of the four books, Full Court Pressure, Black Planet, and Men of Steal, focused mainly on the players, but one of them, This Game’s the Best turns its spotlight on the third performer in Seattle’s three-ring circus: George Karl.

Karl, who penned the book with Don Yaeger, comes off as nothing more than a curmudgeon who hates everything about the NBA except for the basketball itself, and he’s not thrilled with that bit all that much either.

This Game’s the Best goes into great detail about Karl’s life, from boyhood in Pennsylvania to somewhat-stardom at North Carolina to his (brief) career as an ABA guard to his years bouncing back and forth between the CBA, NBA and Europe as a head coach, all of which make for fantastic reading. Karl was (is) famous for his unvarnished opinions, and there aren’t too many members of the coaching fraternity who would on one of their brothers, as Karl does with Pat Riley:

“This is a game of hard work, of teamwork, of discipline, of commitment. It is more a daily attitude. But to listen to Pat Riley, he represents himself as if he’s smarter than we, the other coaches, are. I resent that.”

Opinions like that make Karl’s book enjoyable, but to turn his “call it like I see it” mantra on its head, this book is not well written. Checking in at close to 250 pages in paperback form, it is a double-spaced miasma of whininess, with only blankness staring at you between the lines.

There is no subtleness to This Game, no surprise considering whose name is in 100 point type on the front cover. Karl’s naivete when it comes to the complicated world of NBA basketball is refreshing in bursts and infuriating in others. On superagent David Falk in specific, and NBA players in general:

“I’m not sure what he’s doing is good for the long-term health of the league though. I have always had a question about David and his work with the players’ union: Why do a bunch of multimillionaires need a union anyway?”

The very fact that without a union they wouldn’t be multimillionaires is lost on Karl, and his obliviousness to the poor relationship between owners and players is further underlined a few sentences later with this bon mot:

“I do not think the owners are in it to hurt the players.”


When he isn’t busy condemning greedy players on other teams, Karl takes care to insult his own players, from Kendall Gill to Michael Cage to Gary Payton. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a hatchet job, and Karl repeatedly praises players when they put the team first. Still, the reader, after hearing page after page of criticisms and complaints, can hardly be forgiven for thinking he has become a member of the Sonics or Bucks or Warriors or Cavaliers in the waning days of Karl’s runs with those respective teams. Yes, George, we get it, today’s players don’t want it the way you did when you were playing, just the same way old players on your San Antonio teams probably whined about the way you didn’t it want it, and the way players on the … well, you get the picture. Old fogies complaining about young bucks (or Bucks) not “wanting it” or “putting the team first” has been going on so long as sports have been around, and Karl is hardly the first or the last to use those clich├ęs. However, the fact others have trodden down that path so many times before doesn’t make his complaints entertaining; it makes them boring.

Thanks to Karl’s humor and honesty, though, there are some wonderful passages interspersed within the doggerel, one of which speaks directly to the man’s way of thinking.

In the late 80s Karl had given up any hope of becoming an NBA head coach. After stints with Golden State and Cleveland ended in frustration, Karl, while still young, figured he would never be given another shot and so headed for Spain with Real Madrid. His first foray was successful, and when Real offered him a chance to coach the team again, Karl gladly accepted. No fool, the boy from Pennsylvania was ready for Europe this time:

“When we were headed to Madrid the second time, we believed we would be there for several years so we shipped over more than four thousand pounds of household goods and food. You always take food when you go to Spain. They do not have Cheerios or Oreos or cake mixes of Hamburger Helper or any of those kinds of things. So we took all that stuff with us.”

It’s a delightful, biographical paragraph. Analyze it with me: Here you have a man, headed to one of the culinary capitals of the world, where good wine costs less than Coca-Cola, where vendors sell delicious tapas for next to nothing, where he has an opportunity to soak up a wonderful culture and its wonderful cuisine, and what does he do?

He ships a container of Hamburger Helper across the Atlantic Ocean.

To anyone else, it would be an embarrassing episode of your life you’d never tell anyone about. But to George Karl, it’s just being honest. The man wanted to eat Cheerios for breakfast, have a sandwich with Oreos for lunch, and Hamburger Helper for dinner, and he wasn’t about to be denied that just because Spaniards have some weird fascination with eating freshly prepared food.

You could read all 258 pages of This Game’s the Best to try to figure out George Karl, or you could just remember that anecdote. Either way, you’d know the man.

The Seattle Supersonics return! (to Safeco?)

In case you missed Sonics Celebration night at Safeco Field a couple months back, here are the highlights courtesy of our pals at Sonicsgate.

Thursday, September 8

Kemp Blows Up Bumbershoot

The Reign Man can still bring the house down at the Key.

Local rapper Macklemore brought Shawn Kemp on stage during his set at Bumbershoot last weekend. Check out the response from the crowd.

Saturday, August 27

The Fish That Saved Seattle

In 1979, the Seattle Supersonics were world champs . . . in this world, anyway.

That same year, in an alternative universe, the Pittsburgh Pisces also won a basketball championship. High-flying Moses Guthrie (who looked a lot like Dr. J), led a goofy band of oddballs to the promised land with the help of Stockard Channing and her astrology charts.

The Sonics may be gone (for now!), but we'll always have the Pittsburgh Pisces thanks to their unofficially official fan page on Facebook. And if you don't know what the hell I'm talking about, just watch the video below, then order The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh on DVD.

Tuesday, August 23

Kemp and Payton return!

They did always say Gary had a big head. 

The Seattle Supersonics are returning to the NBA . . . well, NBA Jam at least.
So when EA Sports announced the return of "NBA Jam" to consoles last year, old school gamers like myself couldn't wait to get our hands back on "Glove" and "Reign Man" for one last leap through the rafters. Only problem was, due to licensing issues, Kemp and Payton weren't included as legends in the game, causing much frustration and outrage among all the die-hard Sonic fans out there. Thankfully for gamers (and everyone else out there looking for more alleys and less oops), EA Sports and the NBA worked out their differences, and the team of Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp will be included in the upcoming downloadable title, "NBA Jam: On Fire Edition" for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. "This is an important day for 'Jam' fans," says "NBA Jam's" creative director, Trey Smith. "We tried to get this Sonics team last year but it didn't quite pan out. And this is something the fans were screaming for. This was at the top of their list, and that's a big deal to us. When we were creating 'NBA Jam: On Fire Edition' we wanted to listen to the fans, and everyone who played the game last year had one question: Where are the Sonics. "They are the quintessential one-two punch in 'Jam,' and if I'm playing hyper-competitively, this is how I roll."
Read the rest of the story at