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There’s Still Time On The Clock, Just Push It Up The Floor

Posted by Ryne E. Hancock on April 17, 2008

Every baseball fan young and old knows all too well about the story of the Dodgers’ move to Los Angeles and how, after 50 years of major league baseball in Southern California, Walter O’Malley’s name in Brooklyn is still spoken with a sense of complete dislike.

Fast-forward to 2008, where instead of close-knit Brooklynites begging for the Dodgers not to depart from Flathbush, a city and a former owner is fighting like crazy to keep their beloved NBA team in the city of their origin.

Going into the 2007-08 NBA season, the Seattle Sonics weren’t among anyone’s list of contenders in the Western Conference. Although the Sonics did strike gold by drafting Kevin Durant, who will nonetheless become this year’s Rookie of the Year, the Sonics were making more news away from the hardwood than on it throughout this season.

As many of us NBA fans know, the Hornets, like many of the pro teams around the New Orleans area, were evacuated because of Hurricane Katrina to temporary sites.

With the Hornets it was Oklahoma City, home to a gleaming showplace for basketball in the Ford Center, which in recent years has hosted the Big 12 Conference Tournament.

While the arrangement between the Hornets and the city was short-term and successful, another Oklahoman is trying his best to do the same thing that Walter O’Malley, more than 50 years ago, allegedly did.

Break the hearts of a loyal fan base.

Oklahoma City businessman Clay Bennett is trying to obtain permission from the NBA to move the Pacific Northwest’s oldest major pro sports team, the Seattle Sonics, to Oklahoma City and thereby doing something that could not be done with the Hornets: sustain a long-term presence of pro basketball in Oklahoma City.

But it’s not going away without a fight.

As we speak, Washington senators are doing everything in their power to stop the move by filing lawsuits, bringing in a former owner to get the team back and keep it in Seattle, something that the people of Brooklyn would have never envisioned doing 50 years ago when their Dodgers traded Flatbush for Hollywood.

But much like the Dodgers, the Sonics have been an instution in Seattle.

And barring a last-second shot, Clay Bennett is going to join the ranks of Horace Stoneham and Walter O’Malley as the most hated owners in sports history.

Too bad, because Seattle was getting used to seeing Kevin Durant and possibly seeing the team get back into contention in the West.

But because of a hillbilly, that won’t be the case.


2 Responses to “There’s Still Time On The Clock, Just Push It Up The Floor”

  1. Condo said

    I respectfully disagree with this. Bennett may or may not have bought the team with the sole intention of moving it to Oklahoma City. But herein lies the problem.

    Seattle has the smallest venue (Key Arena) in the NBA and they haven’t come close to packing it in a LONG time. Not to mention, they asked for rennovations to the arena or a new arena, both were rejected by the city and senators. I don’t think the city thought anyone would ever have the balls to move the team.

    But now that someone has and it has come to the realization of these people that the Sonics won’t be there anymore… NOW they are trying to make them honor the lease, show up to games, etc…

    Sorry, you can’t have everything the way you want it sometimes. This same thing happened in Charlotte with the Hornets several years ago, fans didnt come, and then all of a sudden they go “hey, wait a minute, we’re about to lose our team, we don’t want that!”

    Bennett has said he’s willing to leave everything regarding the Sonics behind (much like Moddell did with the Browns) so that if the commissioner wants to award the city of Seattle another franchise, they can still have all of the Sonics history.

    If Seattle fans want the Sonics so badly to stay, they should’ve thought about that when they stopped attending games and decided they didn’t want to put money into their arena.

    Just my 2 cents though :)

  2. MoonDog said

    Everything I’ve read indicates it’s a forgone conclusion. The Sonics will be in Oklahoma City at the start of the 2008-09 season.

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