Monday, July 7

As if I needed ANOTHER reason not to watch the NBA

Like most any kid in Seattle, I grew up with the Sonics. I was young, callow, naive, so I followed the NBA. Even when I was convinced that the Jazz cheated (especially Stockton and Hornacek being the biggest transgressors), or that the NBA didn't want Seattle to win another title (how else do you explain consecutive first round losses as the No. 1 seed), I monitored the Sonics from afar. The ties to home are strong.

But after the circus surrounding Clay Bennett and his explicit desire to move the team to Oklahoma City, I say, "Good riddance!"

To recap: Seattle spends almost $75 million in 1994 to renovate the arena. The Sonics kick in $21 million. Sonics pass through a few owners. Clay Bennett buys the team publicly promising to keep the team in Seattle. He demands more improvements to the stadium, paid for by the city/county/state. The NBA backs him on the request. Bennett draws up plans for a $500 million stadium in Renton -- to be paid for by the Washington. The state says no. Seattle is now unfit for NBA basketball and Bennett moves the team to Oklahoma City. The other owners and Stern approve it.

This is shitty. Shit-shit-shitty! Somehow, the NBA has got it in its head that municipalities owe the franchise all sorts of infrastructure and improvements, tax breaks and guaranteed revenue streams. In return, the city gets strong-armed into giving MORE to the franchise, and the team threatens to move. (To Oklahoma City, of all places! Talk about a step down!) Thankfully, the Washington State Legislature said, "No dice." So, the Seattle Sonics are no more. And, as if to add lemon juice to a papercut, Stern has the temerity to demand a minimum of $300 million in improvements to Key Arena before the NBA would even consider putting a new team in Seattle.

The Log Cabin Democrat put it very well: "This sets up a terrible precedent in the world of sports. 'Build me a stadium with your money or I'll move the team,' an owner could say, effectively holding cities, states and fans that can't afford to go games hostage. Unless tax dollars are used on a new stadium instead of the profits teams have turned, owners in every sport could effectively use the murder of Seattle basketball as a playbook to justify their own means."

As if municipalities didn't have enough to worry about (y'know, schools, roads, five-oh, etc.), now they have to shell out more and more money to keep a franchise, the economic benefits of which are suspect at best? Clownshoes!

Anyway, I prefer the angst of withleather.

Ezra hereby declares that the activity partaken by those in the National Basketball Association no longer qualify as Sport. As it is now overseen by a bunch of bitches, the NBA is no longer an activity of men. Therefore, it must be of women and/or children, by which, I mean bitches.

3 comments [add yours!]:

spanky said...

1) You are so right. This whole thing is a fucking travesty.

2) Except for that last paragraph. Dude. Seriously. This aggression can not stand, man. There will come a day in the future when the frothing Internet masses are going to do battle with us on the topic of the Rules. One of the horde's primary claims will be that that the Rules are merely based upon the arbitrary whims of their creators. You lend credence to this line of attack by claiming that certified and obvious sports are not sports. Please, stop. This isn't 'Nam.

spanky said...

BTW just a little bit of Sonics nostalgia. I've never been an NBA superfan, but back in 1984 I had tennis lessons at the club that the (at the time) SuperSonics used to work out. I have an '83-'84 team photo with a ton of autographs that I got at the club, most notably: Tom Chambers, Gus Williams, Jack Sikma, and "Downtown" Fred Brown. It is a source of minor discomfort to recall that I approached Sikma in the locker room; even though he was fully clothed, sitting on the couch watching TV, it still seems creepy in retrospect. But he was a total bro about it, a genial gentleman. (Of course, I was like 8.)

Anyhoo. Fuck the NBA.

Ezra said...

Yes, spanky, you're right. Claiming the authority to remove Sport status from the noble enterprise of basketball was more than a little bit of hubris on my part.

The Rules were handed down from on High. Who am I to question? Verily, I am out of my element.