A Seattle Times reporter and longtime Sonics fan couldn't bear to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Western Conference finals, but in the end, he couldn't look away.
That was supposed to be Seattle’s team on TV.
Each time I saw a promo for another Oklahoma City Thunder playoff game it was like a little dagger into my heart.
Now it was Game 7 of the OKC-Golden State Warriors Western Conference finals, and I wasn’t going to watch.
That should have been Kevin Durant, drafted in 2007 by the Seattle SuperSonics, playing for us. Instead he was in a blue Oklahoma jersey.
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It has been 10 years.
I thought I had gotten over the Sonics being yanked from my city because Howard Schultz … because, why, Schultz? You’ve got millions of bucks from Starbucks. If you had to sell, couldn’t you have held on a little longer? Then Steve Ballmer would have spent $2 billion on Seattle’s team.
At that news conference when the sale was announced and Clay Bennett showed up, we all knew what he was planning to do with our team, despite his promises. Bubba and his pals were intending to bolt from Seattle, as emails later showed.
We were humiliated. Remember those images of lizardly David Stern yukking it up at courtside with his pal Clay?
Little daggers, one by one.
For those of us old enough, the memories of the Sonics winning the 1979 NBA finals just keep getting dimmer. Remember the sheer joy of crowds gathering around spontaneously in various neighborhoods just to yell in joy? Dimmer and dimmer.
I had managed to keep away from watching 90 percent of the OKC-Golden State series.
Just wrap this thing up, Stephen Curry, so I don’t have to see the initials OKC for a while.
I don’t have anything against the Oklahoma fans. I understand their enthusiasm.
A team unites a city; you can be on opposite sides on politics, but there is always room to cheer for a Russell Wilson or a Richard Sherman.
Oklahoma fans wanted a team, they got a team, and they were willing to look the other way at how it was done.
Remember, Seattleites, when we thought we had a chance at the Sacramento Kings, we weren’t much talking about how the fans in that city would be affected.
What I wanted from the OKC/GSW series was to see Clay Bennett’s rectangular mug in agony as his team went down in flames.
When the series was on, Netflix was on in the family living room, but I’d sneak back to the room with my laptop to check the score.
The unbelievable was happening. No, it couldn’t be.
Oklahoma was up 3-1.
I could just picture Clay Bennett planning his oily victory barbecue.
I said to myself I would stop checking scores on my laptop, for sure, not watching. I couldn’t stay away.
In Game 7, in the first half, for a few seconds, I switched to the TV coverage of the game. Golden State was down by 12.
Whatever I said, my wife then replied, “If they lose, are you planning to be this way the rest of the night?”
We went back to watching a mystery series.
The minutes passed. “Just for a few minutes,” I said, switching to the game.
Karma had stepped in at the right time.
Golden State was up by 11 or something, a turnaround of two dozen points.
Oh, yes. Everything was right in the universe.
Things got a little tense towards the end, but, let me tell you, it was so satisfactory when Curry got fouled behind the 3-point line and then swish, swish, swish, made all free throws.
I hoped the cameras would catch a shot of Clay Bennett but he must have scurried out of the arena.
Monday night, we Sonics fans got a tiny, tiny bit of satisfaction.
But we also all know how tiny that is.
Kevin Durant should have been in this town, wearing a green jersey. He never will.
Erik Lacitis has been a long-time Seattle Times staffer who remembers writing stories on a TRS-80. Google that techies.
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