Why I won't begrudge Seattle if the Kings end up moving

Ronald Martinez

Seattle could very well win the battle over the Sacramento Kings. I hope they don't, but I won't be angry at the city's fans if it happens.

At this point, with expansion apparently off the table, it's a zero-sum game: Sacramento will have a team next year, or Seattle will have a team next year. If we win, Seattle loses. If Seattle wins, we lose. That creates an adversarial relationship, a real partisan situation. It makes us make the leap that if you root for the rebirth of the Sonics, you root against Sacramento. And I don't think that's true. I think it's possible for those in and from Seattle to want the Sonics back without explicitly wanting Sacramento to lose the Kings. I don't think the mere desire for the Sonics makes anyone in Seattle a hypocrite. There are certain statements that might make one a hypocrite, but the hurdle is not, in my opinion, cleared just through excitement for the return of NBA basketball to the city.

It's a struggle to not hate Seattle right now for me. The Kings mean so much to all of us. Their pleasure happens alongside our disgust. It's hard. But in the end, I can't begrudge them happiness. It doesn't matter that Seattle has baseball, football, college sports and pro soccer. Not all sports are created equal. It doesn't matter that Sacramento has done everything it should need to do to keep its team. Seattle doesn't write the rules of fairness. It doesn't matter that Sacramento will be left without a single pro sports team. That's not Seattle's fault. It doesn't matter that some Seattle trolls have tried to make life less enjoyable for us. There are trolls from every city, every fan base. There is no monopoly on that market.

When most Seattle fans say they wish there were another path to getting a team, I believe them. The circumstances are unfortunate, but they are at this point unavoidable. The people of Seattle should not have begrudged the people of Oklahoma City -- and for the most part, they did not. As a Sacramentan, I won't begrudge the people of Seattle, if this happens.

Who will I begrudge? The Maloofs, of course. The NBA's arena subsidy regime. The Fates. Mostly the Maloofs. Chris Hansen isn't screwing Sacramento. The people of Seattle aren't screwing Sacramento. David Stern isn't screwing Sacramento. The Maloofs screwed Sacramento. So many times, in so many ways. And either way, they'll be rewarded. And you're damn right that I'll begrudge them that reward. Every day, forever.

All this said, Sacramento still has a good chance over the next two months, and I would hope that if we are successful in keeping the Kings, that Seattle does not begrudge us.


(I do, by the way, see and to a point understand some of the lingering hope for expansion after the Saturday comments from Stern and Silver. I'm just not confident that the owners as a group are willing to make that plunge without heavy advocacy from staff. I'm not convinced that Stern or Silver are prepared to advocate for expansion given their comments. They may be open to it behind the smoke, but I think it'd take more than mere openness to get it done.)

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