Oklahoman’s love the Thunder. Sonics fans hate Oklahomans. Sure that is a blanket statement, but from our point of view, it’s true. As fans we took a lot of flack from Sonics fans; Twitter jokes, Facebook posts, comments in online news stories. Hell, even Grantland’s Bill Simmons took to calling our team the “Zombie Sonics.” I suppose I understand the frustration Sonics fans have, being upset that your team was sold out from under you, but just like Robin Williams says in Good Will Hunting, “It’s not your fault… It’s not your fault.” And you wanna know what, it’s not our fault either. Think about who owns professional sports teams: It’s usually men, white, old, rich, businessmen. They’ve made their money from finding ways to separate consumers from their money. The new team owners of today don’t give a shit about tradition. Actually, I’m not sure they ever did… as can be seen here.
Howard Schultz bought the Sonics after getting rich by selling coffee. I’m sure he thought that since he started a billion dollar company selling shit coffee at a premium, that he could make even more money owning something as big and popular as a professional basketball team.
When his investment didn’t have the return he expected he decided to sell it off to a group of rich, white businessmen from Oklahoma with a “good faith” promise that they would try to keep the team in Seattle. But in reality, he didn’t care about the tradition of the team, he didn’t care if the team stayed in Seattle, he just wanted out (and to make a lot of money by selling out). The group of asshole investors from Oklahoma pretended to try to keep the team in Seattle, while at the same time getting things in place to move the team to OKC.
Here in Oklahoma, we were excited about the prospect of having a real professional sports team. After Hurricane Katrina we were home to the Hornets, and loved every second of it. Until this point if you were an NBA fan in Oklahoma your loyalties were usually with the Mavs, Rockets, Spurs or some other NBA team for whatever random, pointless reason. But now, now we had the possibility of cheering for our very own team! So, through no fault of our own, did we cheer for our team while leaving Seattle fans left scratching their heads.
Recently, it was announced that Chris Hansen (Not the To Catch a Predator guy) and a group of Seattle-based investors purchased a controlling interest in the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof family. Now Seattle fans have to deal with conflicting emotions of having their very own team at the expense of another cities fans.
So here is my hope for Seattle fans that spent any time calling the people of Oklahoma, “Hicks,” “Rednecks,” or any other name because we cheered for your former team:
1) I hope that there are Sacramento Kings fans that actively go to your games and wear the Kings jersey and cheer against you.
2) I hope there is a dedicated group of Kings fans that take to the internet to make disparaging remarks about your city’s people.
3) I hope there is a thriving t-shirt industry that shits on your city.
4) I hope when your team plays in the NBA finals there is a perverse gladness in the hearts of Sacramento fans when you lose.
5) I hope DeMarcus Cousins and Tyreke Evans become all-stars, so Kings fans can say that you didn’t draft them, somehow negating the teams success.
6) I hope the insults that are thrown your way are offensive beyond the basic ribbing a sports fan takes for loving a team, because that’s what we had to deal with.
7) I hope a promenant voice in the sports opinion arena takes the side of Sacramento fans.
Is it fair for me to want these things for you? No. But at the same time, I want you guys to know what we went through just for cheering for our team. If you want to blame anyone, blame the rich assholes that have the means to buy and sell professional sports teams. They are the real villans. But I understand that when you can’t elicit a reaction from them, the next target is the fans.
And Seattle, you know better than anyone what the people of Sacramento are going through. Have some compassion toward them and remember who is really at fault here: a group of rich assholes.