When I hear the Seattle SuperSonics are coming back, I think, “Aw, man. Not like this.”
And I can think that way because I’m a fan of the Cleveland Browns. They moved to Baltimore in 1994. Baltimore just advanced to its second Super Bowl. Go ahead and kick me in the gut again while we’re at it.
Anyway, back to the NBA.
According to a report by Yahoo Sports, the deal is done. The Sacramento Kings will be the Sonics at the start of next season. Now, I always liked the Sonics. I thought they were good for the NBA. Today, those Sonics are Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the defending Western Conference champions and a model franchise.
But feel free to bad-mouth me for not liking the pain known as “franchise relocation.” As far as I’m concerned, there is no winning in these situations — just degrees of losing.
The Kings’ new ownership group is led by Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer. They’ll move the team into KeyArena for the next two seasons, according to the Yahoo report — or the arena that was deemed unfit for the old Sonics/new Thunder.
“The relocation committee has been briefed several times on the sale process to the Hansen-Ballmer group, sources said, and fully support the the franchise moving to Seattle for next season,” Yahoo reported.
Fittingly, the NBA relocation committee is chaired by Clay Bennett, the owner of the Thunder who moved the team from Seattle.
So I love the idea of the Sonics. Always have. But I just assumed they’d return via expansion. Instead, the NBA is killing off one of its longest-tenured franchises (the Kings began as the Rochester Royals back in 1945) to re-launch another.
One of the players on that first Royals team was no less than Otto Graham — who later became a football Hall-of-Famer by quarterbacking the Browns to 10 NFL championship games.
Basically, every time one of these teams move, a little history is unmade.
And here we are again, removing the souls from the fans of one franchise and swiftly placing them in the bodies of another.
I’m glad to see the Sonics. But not like this.
Further reading from the Seattle Times: You can believe it now — NBA is coming back