First off, Seattle is my second home. My favorite US city. The place where 9 out of 10 of my favorite places to eat are. Where my beloved Huskies play and learn. I love Seattle, and if, as the first version of this FAN POST did, I insult you in any way, forgive me. But...
This is NOT Sonicsgate. In all sincerity, I mean no disrespect to your pain, but this in reality a very different situation. This is not a situation where Sacramento is losing "a team;" Sacramento is on the verge of losing their only nationally relevant anything--other than the state capitol, of course. On the surface, the differences in the situations may be hard to see, but I think I can make that claim more than most. You see, though I grew up in Sacramento and my family still lives there, my years spent in Seattle and Tacoma were the best decade of my life. If I am honest, I'd probably prefer to live in the I-5 corridor in Washington than in my hometown.
Seattle is my second home. I was there when George Karl, the Glove, the Rainman (whose dunk on Rodman in the NBA Finals is still possibly my all time favorite dunk) et all won a staggering 300 games in only 5 seasons. Though I went to PLU (Tacomites know what I'm talking about) my wife's PhD (yeah, yeah, we're snobs) is from UDub (we're also geeks or nerds: my D&D character is a wizard named "Sark the Purple"). SIX years we spent bleeding Husky purple, arguing with other grad students about why sports are so important.
And though a Kings fan living in Seattle, I was screaming when Clay Bennett bought the team--I didn't trust that snake. And sadly. I was right not to. I freely admit, you do know how he slithers better than me. You were hurt in a way I can begin to understand, but not fully comprehend.
But I also knew Sonicsgate was a message. A message specifically targeted at Sacramento--who for years had been half assedly wrestling with the Maloofs and the NBA to finance a new arena, to the vocal disapproval of David Stern. And at the time, Sacramento was the obvious (who knows what the Maloofs would have done had Sacramento delivered the arena deal it delivered last year, five years earlier) culprit in failed negotiations.
However, even if Sacramento and California politicians were as much to blame for this mess as the owners--the way that Seattle, King County and politicians in Olympia shared culpability with Howard Schulz--this wouldn't be Sonicsgate (and Sacramento and California officials have been all in this time). It's much worse.
Let me help some of you put yourselves in our shoes. Imagine you grew up in Pullman. Your parents worked in some capacity at Wazzu and you, like a dutiful son or daughter, went there and bleed Crimson. But for grad school, or for work, you moved to Seattle. And of course, you fell in love with the Emerald City. You learned to tolerate Husky fans and even agree with them that the real enemy is a Disney character with wardrobe issues living in Eugene. Seattle became your home, even if Pullman, and the Cougs, were your hometown and your beating heart.
Then you found out that WSU is ceasing all operations in Pullman and moving to Seattle. After all, there are more fans, more students, more big donors there.
How would you feel? What would that do to your hometown? Not just sports-wise, but even economically? And to think, Seattle already has not only the University of Washington, but Seattle U and Seattle Pacific. And of course loads of other sports. The Mariners. The Seahawks. The Sounders.
What's Pullman left with? No sports. But more than that, it's left with no venues with an anchor tenant for hosting other big events. And what's Seattle have? They already have Key Arena! They have Husky Stadium! They have (the best) baseball stadium suitable for hosting monster concerts like U2.
Wazzu leaving Pullman would obviously be much worse for Pullman than the Kings leaving Sacramento--economically. But from a heart of the community standpoint--it's the exact same thing. And the economics of it all aren't as far behind as you'd think. But I won't get into that.
When you lost the Sonics, you turned to the ascendant Seahawks. The dominant Sounders. The rebirthing Huskies. You've always been great fans of the Mariners (I was also in Tacoma when Edgar beat the "Effing" Yankees in the Kingdome).
You think we can turn to Golden State. Or the Niners. Well, we sort of do. But given it's two hours drive for many of us to Candlestick Point and certainly their future home in Santa Clara, why don't you drive to Portland for your basketball fix? Same driving distance--at least from Tacoma.
Maloofgate will be much worse than Sonicsgate. It won't be our basketball team getting stolen. It'll be the beating heart of our community. Our only source for nationally relevant sports. Our only tenant capable of helping us have a venue that can attract world class events, sporting or otherwise.
Please think of this when you think, well, it happened to us, we feel for you, but business is business. It didn't happen to you. You lost a piece of your heart. The Maloofs, Hansen and Ballmer are threatening to take all of our heart.
Thanks for you time. Go Huskies. And sign the petition for Seattle to get an expansion team while Sacramento keeps its Kings. That solution is a win for everyone.
And again, if I have offended, think of this and all is mended: I'm just an ass. True story.