For whatever reason, I have recently seen a number of posts about Seattle (specifically the Sonics), rants from Sonics fans against the Thunder, etc. and felt compelled to share my brief opinion and story.
When the Sonics actually moved, I was extremely angry. I had the jerseys, the hats, the memorabilia to prove my allegiance to the team. I felt like my identity had been stolen.
Now, after living in Portland for the past 5 years, I’ve seen people rooting for the Blazers, the Oregon Ducks, and the Oregon State Beavers. That is their identity. It’s a literal culture. I felt like when the Sonics left, I didn’t have anyone to relate to anymore.
At this point in time, my blame still rests squarely on the shoulders of ALL the leaders involved (Clay, Schultz, Seattle’s gov.,) but don’t hold a grudge anymore. As connected to the NBA as I am, it’s still ultimately a business where the fans unfortunately aren’t the most important aspect of the sport. The recent lockout is the perfect example. If the fans truly had a voice, ticket prices would be more affordable, players would take less in salary to create better teams, and NBA basketball would be the biggest sport in the world (and we wouldn't have had a lockout in the first place!)
From a personal standpoint, it still hurts that the Sonics are gone. It always will. I still love NBA basketball, and have fortunately been embraced by BlazersEdge community. It was hard to root for the “rival” Blazers at first, but it didn’t take long to find they’re an easy team to like! Now that I have bought a home in Portland proper and I am expecting my first child in the next week or so, it's safe to say that I'll be in Portland for the longhaul.
I still like all of the "former" Sonics (Durant, Collison) that are still with the Thunder. It wasn’t their fault or choice to move the team.
I’m not sure that if Seattle ever gets a team again that I would jump on the bandwagon, simply because it wouldn’t feel the same, especially if they hijack another team and bring it to Seattle.
I will always bare the scar of being a Sonics fan, but it's slowly being covered up by a red and black pinwheel.
As screwed up as the NBA is (business wise), it’s still the place to enjoy the best basketball anywhere on the planet., and as far as I'm concerned, the Blazers (and more specifically.. BlazersEdge community) is the most close knit and passionate fanbase in the NBA. Hands down.
I love me some Blazers basketball, and I'm expecting a 109-106 victory over the Zombie Sonics tonight.