Monday, January 21

Don't Hate Me Bros, But The Kings Should Stay in Sacramento

I hated the Sacramento Kings.

From the Human Flop Vlad Divac to that rat-faced punk Mike Bibby, I have always loathed that team. And the cowbells? Ugh. They were almost as annoying as soccer fans.

In 2005, there was more than a little schadenfreude being dished out around here when Danny Fortson sat on Brad Miller in the playoffs, literally crushing this pesky little team of overrated divas and allowing us (at least before getting stomped in the next round by eventual champs San Antonio) to bask in the glory of our Cinderella team, the last good team we would see in this town for quite a while.

So you'd think with this sort of deep, borderline psychotic hatred of the Kings, I would be happy to eliminate them from the history books while getting back my beloved Seattle Supersonics. But I'm not.

Because if we gleefully swipe a team from a city that has faithfully supported them (ENOUGH WITH THE COWBELLS! I GET IT ALREADY!), we become (gulp) Oklahoma.

We will have to let go of the glorious torch of righteousness we've been able to wave in the faces of Clay Bennett, David Stern and the rest of the slimy dirtbags who lied, cheated and swindled to get their damn dirty paws on our team. We become part of the same problem that cost us a team in the same place. We become enablers of the NBA's cycle of abuse and extortion.

It's tempting to say our case is different. That at least we're being upfront about wanting to take another city's team, unlike Bubba Bennett, who claimed to be giving us a chance to show we "deserved" a team (!), while purposely tanking the organization, alienating the fanbase and demanding the city pay for the most expensive arena in NBA history. In fact, I'll probably be consoling myself with that exact straw man fallacy if this deal goes through. We're not like OKC! We're not like . . . THEM!

But in the end, the only way we can truly have a clean install of Sonics 2.0 is to start from scratch with an expansion team.

And believe me, I know how unlikely that is. The NBA already has too many teams. The only way we'd ever get an expansion team is if another team folded, and isn't that in essence what would be happening in Sacramento (and in Seattle in 2008, for that matter)? And besides, this is just business, son.

Except it isn't.

We don't watch basketball for the cold numbers of enterprise. We watch it because we fall in love with teams. We follow them like lovestruck teeny-boppers. We are crushed with every loss and walk on clouds when (or "if" in Seattle's case) they win. Sports are about irrational love, not backroom deals and corporate naming rights. When we buy another city's team, we're not just acquiring a franchise, we're taking someone's dream (See: NBA Finals, 2012).

As someone who has felt this pain, I hope the Kings stay in Sacramento. I hope they get the chance we never had. And I hope we get a new, guilt-free Seattle Supersonics someday so we can kick their miserable asses all over again.


Max said...

But I hate Bennett/Schultz, not the people of Oklahoma.
So Sacramento can hate the Maloofs without hating us, the people.

If the NBA can only support X teams, where X < Y cities, it's dog eat dog. Some city has to lose out, and it's not the winning city's fault.

Jared S. said...

I don't disagree.

Anonymous said...

"But I hate Bennett/Schultz, not the people of Oklahoma.
So Sacramento can hate the Maloofs..."

@Max: Sacramento already hated the Maloofs, but the Maloofs won't be the ones petitioning for relocation on March 1, will they?

PN said...

I'm beginning to tire of this false dichotomy of: "Hey, the NBA can't expand, so this is the only way we can get a team."

Who says the NBA can't expand? If the NBA is in such rotten shape, why is a multi-billionaire like Steve Ballmer so interested in paying north of $525 million to own a team? If it is so horrible, why has Larry Ellison done everything short of sending in a team of ninjas to get a team for himself? It's all well and good to say the league won't expand because Stern & Co. want to maintain leverage over cities such as Milwaukee or Sacramento or whomever, but none of us know that for a fact. We might THINK we know what the reality is, but unless David Stern comes out and says, "The NBA cannot expand because there are no players left to draft on this entire planet," well, I'll be skeptical.

I could be completely and utterly wrong, but you know what, what I have stated is completely and utterly a guess, which is exactly what everyone else's statements about expansion are: A guess.

David Galloway said...

You know, Stockton, just down the road from Sacremento filed for bankruptcy last summer. The area just seems kind of depressed. I'm sure fiscal responsibility has become more important than having an NBA franchise.

Paul said...

I am 100 percent in favor of expansion. I think the only possible snag is there probably needs to be a pair of teams to keep the number even. In that case, where does the second team go? Kansas City? Virginia? Las Vegas? San Diego? (California could have its own division!) Are those cities NBA ready? Or, like Seattle, do they have millionaires sitting around ready to overpay for a stadium/franchise?

Unknown said...

I think the thing about expansion the NBA worries about is parity. With more teams there could be more losing teams and the competitive balance could suffer. But that is just a guess. Otherwise I wouldn't be against expansion.

Unknown said...

There is what you want and then there's what happens. 99% of the time the fans deal with the latter. What we can do is honor our brothers and sisters in Sacramento and the love they have for the team coming here. From rocking a cowbell at the tailgate to buying a guy in a Kings Jersey a beer and shooting the shit about the old team. About the old times. As a Sonic fan my nightmare was that we would be forgotten. As a sonic my goal is to focus on us. On how basketball brings us together. How without us its just 10 guys running ball. How we are the energy that creates the importance. How we will bring back our history but never let anyone forget the purple and black. Cause in the end..we all hate the Lakers.

PN said...

[Any NBA expansion] needs to be a pair of teams to keep the number even.
Not true. The NBA had an odd number of teams from 1980 until 2004, and during that time expanded on three separate occasions, ignoring the necessity of creating an even number of teams each time. Obviously, an odd number of teams is not a problem.

With more teams there could be more losing teams and the competitive balance could suffer.
Again, not true. This might be possibly true if the league added, say, 4 teams in a single season, but that's not nearly the case here. The NBA hasn't expanded in nearly a decade. Remember: The Heat were an expansion team. The Magic were an expansion team. The Mavericks were an expansion team. The Raptors ... okay, ignore that last one.

Paul said...

The NBA had an odd number of teams from 1980 until 2004,

That's crazy! I had no idea. Okay, count me all in on the expansion idea.

PN said...

It's an honest mistake. We just assume it's a problem because everyone says it's a problem. It's like Gore Vidal said: Almost everyone's ideas are Received Opinions. If you boil down the rhetoric, there is no real reason why the NBA cannot expand.

Anonymous said...

I'm Italian, I wasn't a fan of the Supersonics, but I was really sad when Seattle lost his team. Now that the city is so close to have another team, I wanna say 2 things.

First, I don't think Seattle fans should feel guilty about taking the Kings from Sacramento. This isn't about fans and their "poor" money anymore. Owners want big arenas, with huge expensive boxes, and every possible shop they can put around them. It's not about basketball anymore. It's about rich guys fighting each other.

Second thing, we have to undestand that, after all, even if sport teams wear a uniform with a city name on it, they are not really part of the city. My town in Italy isn't a rich one, plenty of people who has to go elsewhere to find a job. For almost 10 years we had a team in the top Italian soccer league. Everyone in town was proud for that, but really that didn't change anything, it just gave you the feeling of something good associated with the city name. In the meantime, the city was and still is growing poorer than before, than ever.

You don't have to forget one thing: players do their job, they play and win, and for that they get paid. You just enjoy the show and pay a price for that. Players can like the city or not, they can also embrace the comunity and stay in town, maybe forever, but for them, money and business will come first. It's just the way it is.

I'm sorry for Sacramento. Lots of memories of their battles and the fun basketball the team played. But guys, don't forget that even if you put other 10 teams in the league, still there'll be so many big cities without an NBA team. You cannot give everyone a team, and at the same time, everyone has a right to want an NBA team in town. Your loss, my gain: it's the way the world goes, and not just in sports...

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the Anonymous post, I'm Federico. On second thought, I could've stayed anonymous: I am kind of a loser... :-)

Johnmichael Monteith said...

The NBA is a business. Businesses find they are not doing well so they sell, or move, or sometimes just cease to exist. Yes, there are emotions behind these companies. Seattle was upset when Boeing moved their corporate headquarters to Chicago - but it happens.

We are potential customers. Yes, we think of ourselves as more than that, as "fans", but in the end we are all just people that could possibly buy products from their business.

Many of us here were customers of the old Sonics franchise. I sat in Key Arena on that final game against the Jazz in the 96 playoffs. I had my "Houston, You've Got A Problem" shirt and spent my free time talking about Big Smooth, The Hawk and the Glove of Grab. Neat. Which means I was a good customer.

Now they are talking about moving a business from California to Seattle and re-naming them the Sonics. There are a couple of rich folks that want us as customers again and want to see their team come back to life. Good for them. That is what business owners do.

The bottom line is that one of our cities is going to be sad that they do not have that basketball shop open in their town. So, I suggest not getting caught up in whether it should or should not happen due to some guilt of upsetting someone. If the Sonics return then support them. If they don't, then we will continue to hope they will someday soon.