I haven't said much about the whole Sonics debacle yet, but I can see it's been a lively topic in the sidebar. Though I've waited to compose myself before commenting I do care pretty deeply about this issue. I think it's a travesty that there will be no NBA basketball in Seattle for a while at least. Worse, if and when it does return the city will have lost out on guys like Kevin Durant and Jeff Green. If they get an expansion team Seattle will have to build from the ground up with everybody else's castoffs, kind of like the youngest sister in a family of twenty-nine. If they inherit somebody else's team then yet another city--another generation of wide-eyed kids and kids at heart who have poured their passion, time, and money into following this sport--will have to mourn.
Situations like this are never pretty. As is the norm when money is involved the people whose lives and feelings are affected most deeply--the life-long Sonics fans--also have the least say and thus get skewered. Whether it is economically justifiable or not makes little difference. The Sonics ought to play in Seattle. Even though just about everybody saw this coming, it isn't any easier to wrap your mind around. I guess it'll hit hardest when we start next season with no Seattle games on the schedule and then have to watch the Oklahoma City Cowpie Brigade come to town.
Speaking of...one of the main topics of discussion around here has been how to react when said team makes its visit. I do feel some responsibility to protest as a sports fan in general. The fact that we're Seattle's nearest NBA neighbor, a long-time rival, and Pacific Northwest cousins makes that responsibility seem bigger. If any town should stick up for the ghost of the Sonics ours should. One of the suggestions mentioned (and forgive me for not going back to source the exact fanposts) was for everyone attending the game against OKC to wear yellow and green in honor of the Sonics. That's a fairly nifty one, though I must say it feels a lot like cross-dressing to me. I'm not sure I could actually do it in public. Still, the visual impact would be impressive and would make a clear statement. Another suggestion was non-stop booing, which is always in style.
My personal suggestion would be difficult to coordinate, as it would require the cooperation of everybody present to be completely effective. However impractical, it would certainly get the exact message across.
I wouldn't ask people to boo the OKC Squad Stealers. That's far too much respect. I mean, upon occasion we used to boo the Sonics. Booing can indicate a rivalry. It certainly acknowledges an impact. You boo because someone has gotten under your skin, which gives them a sense of power. I have a hunch the Steer Suckers, led by the pooptastic Clay Bennett, would be all too willing to play the heels in Portland.
Rather, were it possible to spread the word wide enough to ensure compliance, I would suggest the OKC Dingleberry Herders be met with an overwhelming chorus of...silence. Utter and complete silence. From the pre-game introductions to the final horn, every time they are mentioned, touch the ball, or do anything productive. Silence can't be mistaken for grudging admiration. Silence says you don't matter. You're not worthy of my notice. You...don't...exist.
Naturally this would not be meant to inhibit cheering for the Blazers. In fact the roar of approval which would meet a Greg Oden block, for instance, would provide stark and necessary contrast with the void on the other end. A raucous cheer, a thundering dunk, and then...nothing. Just the echo of a basketball hitting the floor in a seemingly empty gym.
I can't think of a more appropriate way to register my feelings about the NBA's "newest" team than refusing to acknowledge their existence for a while.
Ten to one after a 20-62 season the good folks of Oklahoma City end up doing the same.