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In 2009, five journalists and filmmakers in Seattle got together to make Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team, a documentary film that told the story of how the SuperSonics left Seattle. In 2013, the producers got together and tried to "New Dad" Sacramento Kings fans. Naw.
A lot of StRians have seen the open letter from Sonicsgate producers Adam Brown and Jason Reid to Sacramento Kings fans that Grantland published on Tuesday. And there has been a lot of anger about it. I like Adam and Jason and the vast majority of Seattle SuperSonics fans I've come across in my years blogging about basketball. I want them to understand why so many Sacramentans are upset about what they wrote and upset at Seattle fans in general. So ...
An Open Letter To Seattle SuperSonics Fans From A Sacramento Kings Fan Who Has Heretofore Not Produced A Documentary Yet Is Quite Serious About Preventing Relocation Of His Favorite Team
I'm afraid we've gotten off on the wrong foot.
You see, we are fighting desperately to ensure that what happened to the lovely basketball fanatics of Seattle does not happen to the lovely basketball fanatics of Sacramento.
The news about the Maloofs potentially selling the Sacramento Kings to Seattle's saviors broke a week ago. Last Wednesday. Down here, we're all going to remember that day, just like y'all up there will remember the day in July 2006 when word broke that Howard Schultz sold the Sonics to some Oklahomans. You remember that, right? And you remember when Clay Bennett's arena talks with the state broke down, right? You remember how utterly crushing that was? How it felt like some money mongers were ripping your still-beating basketball-loving green-and-gold heart right through your ribcage? That's how it felt for us. Except our hearts are purple and black and occasionally powder blue.
For us, that was a freaking week ago. One week.
You've got to understand that right now we don't see the word Seattle and think about the cruelty of the Sonics' relocation, which we all declared was cruel back in 2007 and 2008. (Yep, that's an open letter to the Maloofs in April 2008 requesting they vote against the Sonics relocation. The Maloofs voted in favor of it. Open letters, everybody!) We see the word Seattle and we see what y'all saw (and still see, I reckon) when you see the words Oklahoma City. You'll say you have nothing against the fine people of interior Oklahoma, and maybe that's even an honest statement for most of you. But there's still something guttural about the words, about the immediate connotations. Oklahoma City. Still gives you the willies, yeah?
Five years later, right?
We've been dealing with the word Seattle for one week. One week. Pardon the willies. We're having trouble looking past that guttural reaction and remembering that the Puget Sound is a wondrous place populated by kind people and wildlife we share common bonds with.
So when we read things like ...
As of this writing, a new local ownership group has emerged to try to keep the Kings in Sacramento. We know how it feels to have last-minute efforts to save your team come up just short at the buzzer. We write this with the hope that Kings fans can learn from what Sonics fans have gone through in our fight for basketball.
... you've gotta understand, friends, that we're really not trying to hear that. Because we're still fighting. Because that buzzer hasn't sounded. Because we have beaten buzzers in the recent past and plan to do so again. Because we think we have learned from Seattle and are using those lessons -- lessons already imparted by folks including the producers of Sonicsgate well before this open letter -- to keep our team.
So yeah, we're not really trying to hear that. And then that next subheading?
A Blueprint for How to Get a Team Back in Your City
Naw. We're not really trying to hear that.
We have a team.
We're trying to write
A Blueprint for How to Prevent a Team from Leaving Your City
We will upload it to the City of Seattle when completed, if it pleases you.
Look, friends in Seattle, this is not fan vs. fan. It hasn't been, it shouldn't be and it can't be. This piece of your open letter, Adam and Jason, was just perfect:
If the fate of sports fans is subject only to a roll of the dice based on which billionaire owns their favorite pro teams, it may seem silly to pour our hearts and dollars into fighting for its survival. But we are basketball fanatics because we love the beauty of the game and the way it has brought our communities together for decades.
That's how we feel right now. The Sacramento Kings are not something that Sacramentans are willing to give up. We love being a part of the world's most beautiful game played at its highest level. We cherish the way it has brought our community together since 1985. We're not willing to give that up.
So I urge you to be sensitive to our fight. For the love of Shammgod, please do not write about our story as if the final words have been written. Because I assure you friends, they have not. If you disagree, the Anaheim Royals have a blog right over there you can visit. For real. It's right there.
Don't get hurt by thinking you have your team back. Respect that our story is unresolved. Respect that we're still working on that blueprint, that we're not laying down our sledgehammers or putting away our hard hats. It's not Story Time On The Magic Carpet for us. It's Save Our F--king Team Time.
If you'd like to join a drive that seeks a solution that resolves with NBA teams in both of our cities, I encourage you to ask your fellow Sonics fans to sign the Here We Stay petition that pushes the league to keep the Kings in Sacramento under new owners and awards the very deserving Emerald City with an expansion club immediately.
With all sincerity, honestly,
Sacramento Kings Fan