Wednesday, January 23, 2013
When the Seattle SuperSonics were stolen from Washington state by the team’s double-crossing owner, Clay Bennett, it was wrong.
Yet, there wasn’t much that could be done about it. Big league sports is big, big business. The owners are all multimillionaires, if not billionaires.
They look at the world, well, differently.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote, “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.”
Nevertheless, Sonic fans have been seething since 2008 when the team was moved to Bennett’s hometown, Oklahoma City. Adding salt to that wound is the fact the OKC Thunder is a really good team because of the young talent drafted when the ball club was in Seattle.
But now it looks as if the idiosyncrasies of the very rich (who have suddenly fallen to become just plain-old rich) will bring the NBA and a team called the SuperSonics back to Seattle.
It was announced Monday that a Seattle group has an agreement to buy controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings. The plan is to have the new Sonics back next season. .
The deal was made possible because the Maloof brothers, who inherited a fortune and built on it, have been hit hard by the Great Recession. They need cash and selling their interest in the Kings should net them in the neighborhood of $300 million.
But, as is expected, Sacramento and its mayor, Kevin Johnson (a former NBA player), are fighting to keep the Kings from becoming the Sonics. The effort looks like a longshot. The deal is done with the Maloofs and NBA Commissioner David Stern has been pushing to get Seattle the next franchise in an effort to make things right.
Sure, folks in the Northwest feel bad for Sacramento. It’s rotten to have your team moved to another city — and it has happened twice to Seattle. The Sonics moved and so did the Seattle Pilots baseball team, which was shipped to Milwaukee to become the Brewers after the 1969 season. Milwaukee snagged the Pilots to make it right for the loss of the Braves to Atlanta.
Having the Kings on the move is nothing new. It is one of the most traveled franchises in sports. It started as the Rochester Royals, then moved to become the Cincinnati Royals and moved again to become the Kansas City Kings before ending up in Sacramento. Moving to Seattle should be a breeze. The truly right thing to do is move the Kings to OKC to become the Thunder and let the old Sonic team come home.
But, since that isn’t going to happen, having the new SuperSonics in Seattle will do. It makes Clay Bennett’s theft of 2008 as close to right as is possible.