I can honestly think of at least three teams that should have stopped the Chicago Bulls Dynasty from ever happening; The Utah Jazz come into mind as well as the Portland Trail Blazers, but the one team that goes without mention are the 1995 Seattle SuperSonics. The Sonics were led by Shawn Kemp, Gary Payton, and Detlef Schremph, who rode dunks, steals, blocks and one heck of a perimeter game to the NBA Finals.
But 13 years later the city was stripped of its NBA franchise and was forced to watch as their last draft pick Kevin Durant has gone on to win an MVP, play in the Finals then leave the team that was once the SuperSonics. He wasn’t the only player to don the Sonics logo and go on afterwards to success, does the name Ray Allen ring any bells? It has to be hard for the fans and the city of Seattle to watch as a once proud franchise now offer prayers that their wishes will be granted, and they could be get another chance to prove they were and are one of the best fan bases in the NBA.
The NBA seems hell-bent on global expansion instead of focusing on the issues at home, but what it boils down to is money. The NBA is a 30 league team, and now the owners have no interest in bringing in another party to split in the revenues. I hate to say it because I love the NBA but how can you turn your back on a city that has gone to the playoffs 14+ times, given you great players, Hall of Fame players and a fan base that were used to selling out every home game?
All this is over money?
If the NFL can play musical chairs with teams why can’t the NBA take one on the chin for a contributor to their success in the ’80s and 90’s? Not to mention the low attendance of such franchises as the Brooklyn Nets, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans who seem to lose money every season but yet the NBA still has seen a hike in the salary cap, fan participation but can and will still offer revenue splits with teams with “Tank Plans” that does nothing but degrade the sport. Good investments make money, and it’s clear this is one of the reasons the NBA will not award the city of Seattle with another team, as long as they can see an opportunity to give one to possibly another Canadian city.
With reports that soon to be ex-President Barack Obama may be in the hunt to buy an NBA team, he should look rather hard at Seattle. The issue in Seattle was never about the money, not when you have the likes of Paul Allen around, the issue is now world-wide as they try to contend with soccer on a global scale. To Adam Silver and the rest of the owners, America has potential, but a league in China or another team in Canada may offer higher rewards than Seattle. But what they fail to realize in the grand scheme of things is that Seattle may not have the bright lights of New York City, the glamour of Los Angeles or the nightlife of Atlanta but what it does have are pride and history.
What needs to happen is players like Kemp, Payton and Allen need to band together and fight the NBA on this matter and give this beautiful city back what was taken from them.