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Emerald City Turned to Jade by Thunder

A former Seattle resident and fan explains why he still feels burned by the Sonics' departure and what he thinks about the Thunder in this year's Finals.

My wife has left with the kids, moved down the street and married a successful doctor. I did nothing wrong to fail the marriage; she just wanted a better house. Now, they are the talk of the town, go on interesting vacations and provide excellent private education for my kids. I love my kids to death, but I hate my wife and am ambivalent to her new husband.

None of that is true, but that is how I feel about the Oklahoma City Thunder. Because I am a Seattle fan.

Seattle has great sports fans. We fall in love with character guys. We don’t like egos. We generally show up when you win or lose… just not when you’re boring. Edgar, Buhner, Xavier, Moon, Largent, Kasey… we love them. At the same time, we’re used to athletes leaving us in the most bitterness of ways. A-Rod called us 'too small' and left for Arlington. Neuheisel spent his entire coaching tenure at Washington looking for an NFL job. And Clay Bennett bought our basketball team with the sole purpose of moving it to Oklahoma. Okla-frickin’-homa!

We don’t blame the players. I’ts not Durant’s fault that he was drafted to live in Seattle and then taken in the custody battle to live in OKC. It’s Bennett’s fault.  Released emails showed he had the express interest of moving the team from day one and pulled a “Major League” move by tanking seasons to drive attendance down. It wasn’t like we didn’t already have a stadium, a fan base and a history. The answer? Soccer. The new MLS Sounders team draws an average of 38,000 a game. The chants can almost be heard in Sooner country. We moved on. No more fixed games, inconsistent rules based on stardom, no more Stern fixing the league for big markets.  

Yet there is that nagging feeling that it is our guys out there. Durant is the perfect Seattle guy. He lacks the ego of Kobe or LeBron. We should be rooting for our Durant as he takes on Lebron James. Our guy who went around the country during the lock-out playing pick-up games with bible-in-hand going against the man most famous for spurring another tough-loss city, Cleveland. While the rest of the country sees a battle of two super-stars, I see it as a battle between an owner who spurned a city versus a player who spurned a city.

Enjoy your team, OKC. I’m happy for you. Just please don’t think this is bitterness. Jaded and apathetic; we don’t talk about it unless someone asks why I can’t enjoy the game. I have no hard feelings towards you fine folks – just the owner.  

Of course, after thinking on it, I’m reminded of Drew Carey when speaking of Art Modell after he moved the Browns from Cleveland. “I hope he has another [heart attack]. I don’t want him to die, I just want him to keep having heart attacks because I know they hurt.”

Photo Credit: AP