Wednesday, July 02, 2008

B. Jones: Deal With It

Of all the chickenshit...
I was ten years old when I moved to the US, and already, I was a basketball freak.

One day, my Uncle Jesus sat me down and said, "listen, you wanna be like an American? You have to like football." Is that like futbol? "No, it's different...Look, I'll take you to a game. But for right now, if anyone asks? You say you like the Broncos, okay?" Okay.

At some point after that, he gave me the sports section. "Look through there, find a team you wanna root for." Do I have to like football? What about basketball? "Do you want Americans to like you? Yes, you have to like football, but basketball's okay too. You can find a basketball team to like, too, okay?" Okay!

Thus it was that I came to like the Buccaneers (they have a pirate on their helmet!) and the Supersonics.

I saw the team name and asked him what that meant. "It's when something goes so fast, they go faster than the speed of sound." Woooooow*.

The year was 1980.

I think I've been betrayed by this city for the last time. Maybe not, but I'm seriously thinking about it.

I've been through a lot since '92. Some great ups and some truly shitty downs. Last time I felt this pissed off about the place was when the city council put the monorail on the ballot for the fifth time, and the populace voted against it.

Now this (J.A. Adande's commentary on the news). Last time I seriously talked about this business, I asked Seattle if it really wanted to be the first city to let carpetbaggers come to town and willingly let them take a pro franchise away.**

Apparently, the city's answer is 'yes.'

Seattle's last three mayors and their highlights:

1) Norm Rice, shady downtown real estate dealings kept him from a Clinton era HUD seat.

2) Paul Schell, got hit by angry SPD victim; WTO riots; Mardi Gras '01 and SPD Chief Norm Stamper.

3) Greg Nickels, monorail fracas, city business shill, explaining the Sonics fiasco.

Adande mentions in the essay linked above that city governance couldn't stop this from happening, and he's right. However, there's been more than a fair amount of finger waggling at current mayor Greg Nickels. And rightfully so.

With a couple of exceptions (and I do include the generally sane, yet regrettably anti-Sonic Nick Licata on that list), the bulk of the city council are douchebags. Governor Gregoire is a douchebag. However, Nickels is the biggest douchebag of them all.

The other politicians are guilty of not giving a shit about all this until it was too late. However, here they had the past on their sides. Somehow, some way, when pro sports made demands in the past, they would get their way and Seattle kept the team. Arrogant thinking, but, let's face it, 7 times out of 10, US cities give in to demands, the pro franchise is momentarily sated, and the cities get to keep the teams. It's an understandable stance.

Nickels, while still guilty of the above, talked a mother fucking game to the fans once he did show up. Gonna take 'em to court, enforce the lease. Hire Slade Gordon (who strong armed MLB for an expansion team back in the 70s), see what he can do. If we're victorious, then we'll see about fixing the arena and finding local buyers. (All things that could've been done years ago, but, must focus.)

They go to fucking court. They actually have a case, and even if shit goes bad, all they really had to do was whisper 'anti-trust' in David Stern's ear, and then we'd see what's what. They finish the fucking case. Not seamlessly, but the case is strong, and actually has a good chance of winning. (Look, I'm an idealist/romantic, let me have my delusions.)

This is when we find out that city hall has been in negotiations with the Carpet Bagger ownership for at least a month. Not only that, but city hall agrees, on the day the judgment on the case was to come out, to settle out of court for $45m, with an additional $30m on the condition that Seattle doesn't have an NBA team in five years (which, in turn, is on the condition that Seattle has renovated Key Arena for the second time in less than 20 years. In other words, don't count on that $30m). The city went from standing up for everything that was right, logical and honorable in a city's fight agains pro teams, to capitulating to every single thing that was wrong about the NBA's/Carpet Baggers' stance, for fucking eight figures.

Nickels then has the balls to hold a goddamn press release, with the Carpet Baggers in question, and talks about all of this as if it's great news all around. In short order, he's talking about "being able to keep the name, colors and history," and not wanting to have "bad relations with the NBA," after two years of forced occupancy. Not only that, but he leads an attempt for the other lawsuit still pending (aka - Howard Schulz's Operation: 2 Little 2 Late Part 2) to be withdrawn.

Fuck that. Fuck you, Nickels. You had the chance to follow through for the populace, actually succeed, and you fucked it up. Again.

Fuck. You. Greg 'Cheese Dick' Nickels.

Of all the goddamn chickenshit...

I could go on forever, and have. I will end on two lists:

Sonics Bad Moves, As I See Them (subject to chronological discrepancies):

1) Wally Walker marries Barry Ackerley's daughter, Walker becomes part of front office
2) Sonics fire Bob Whitsitt
3) Sonics snub Shawn Kemp (long story) and pay draftee Frank Brickowski a) far more money than he's worth and b) a hell of a lot more than Kemp. (Kemp then helps Sonics to NBA Finals, while simultaneously beginning a cycle of bad public inebriation)
4) Having not apologized for the snub, Sonics then lowball Kemp in the off season. Kemp leaves.
5) Wally Walker given more responsibilities within the organization
6) Sonics fire George Karl (eventually correcting their course by hiring Karl protege, Nate McMillan to the coach's position a couple of years down the road)
7) Sonics sell to Howard Schulz
8) Sonics trade away Gary Payton. A) Good for him, he has a ring now, another pattern established, and B) Secret upside: Ray Allen.
9) Sonics "fail to secure" McMillan. A) Good for him, he was hired by area rival the Portland Blazers, which will soon be a force to be reckoned with, and B) he avoids dealing with the bullshit to follow.
10) Schulz and Walker conspire to sell the team and settle on Oklahoma City Carpet Baggers Clay Bennet and Douchebag Co.
11) In order to further alienate fans, OKCarpet Baggers (great team name, guys!) trade away Allen, and Rashard Lewis. Good for them, Allen now has a ring, Lewis is with up and coming Orlando Magic.

Sonics Jerseys I Want To Own:

20 Payton
33 Hawkins
14 Perkins
10 McMillan
25 Wingate
40 Kemp
7 Lewis
31 Barry
24 Mason
13 Snow
50 Johnson
17 Askew
8 Johnson
21 Fortson
34 Cummings
34 Allen

Yeah, all post '92, fucking sue me. May add more as more come to me. There are a number of WTF? type of names in there, I admit (Eddie and Ervin Johnson, David Wingate). This is a sentimental list. I'll add that I would've loved to have been between Kevin Calabro and Marques Johnson during any of the games they announced.

I now attempt to start calming down.


*Even kids speaking Spanish say 'wow.'

**At the time, some local voices were saying "let the Sonics move, I don't care!" pretty loudly, you see. By and large, these were voices of people who were not basketball, or sports, fans.

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At 8:14 AM, Blogger JJisafool said...

I was hopeful of finding a post here.

I feel ya, TBO. Not even as big an NBA fans as you, and I'm pissed off. Mainly morally outraged that ClayClay won after being pure evil, and how much the whole thing makes us looks like a bunch of pussies pushed around by the big bad men.

Two fact-checks though:
- The Sonics pay $45 million now, with the $30 later contingent on renovated Key with no team.

- McMillan wasn't fired. He wasn't secured.

My new favorite plan is to renovate the Key but bring in the NHL, so we get the $30 mil anyway.

And once this teams leaves, I'm not excited about expansion/transfer NBA later.

At 9:32 AM, Blogger the beige one said...

Corrected, thanks.


At 11:56 AM, Blogger Joe said...

My condolences in your time of mourning. I'm sorry for your loss.

No, seriously.

At 1:41 PM, Blogger Deni said...

Holy crap, you don't post for months and then I go out of town, and mostly off-line, for 5 days only to come back to see you have posted not once, but twice.

Oh, and fucking sports owners suck ass. But you can just root for Portland now, right?

At 7:31 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

Thanks Joe and JJ, and yes, even Deni.

I know you're yanking my chain with that last bit, and you're right, I can now openly cheer on Mr. Sonics and his young crew of talented upstarts...

It's just not the same. I know you know that.

Another list: People Who Should Fear Of Ever Being In The Same Room As Me

1) David Stern
2) Greg Nickels
3) Wally Walker

To a lesser degree:

4) Clay Bennett
5) Howard Schulz


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