Today is a difficult day for Sonic fans. Not as difficult as that dark day a half-decade ago, when the team announced it was leaving for Oklahoma, mind you, but certainly not an easy one, either.
There is an ironic twist to this bizarre story, though, and here it is: The Kings are staying in Sacramento for many reasons, and one of those reasons is that the fan base in Sacramento was energized by what happened in Seattle.
They were energized by the threat of relocation, they were energized by the Sonicsgate tale, and they were energized by the emergence of Chris Hansen’s ownership coalition.
Certainly, Sacramento’s elected officials, devoted fans, and possible new owners deserve the lion’s share of credit for what happened today (or, anyways, what should happen; who knows when you’ve got lawyers circling the carcass).
But in many ways, a major reason why the Sacramento Kings are not the Seattle Sonics today is because of the efforts of the people of Seattle. It is entirely possible that were it not for the people behind Save Our Sonics and so on, Here We Stay might never have shown up.
Remember, Sacramento does not have a new arena, it doesn’t have a new ownership group, it doesn’t have anything. It certainly has the promise of those things, but that promise has not, historically, been worth much to the people counting chits in the NBA office. Today, though, those promises were worth enough to the league to forestall a relocation to Seattle.
And so, Sacramento, relish your conquering of the Axis of Evil. For once, the league’s extortion tactics did not require an actual pound of flesh: just the promise of one.