FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Grand Theft Hoops

Kevin Durant, we hardly knew ya. Goodbye Slick Watts. Farewell Gary Payton. And Tom Chambers’ mullet can find somewhere else to call home. Two contemptible men named Clay Bennett and Aubrey McClendon – who in their spare time spend millions of dollars sponsoring anti-Gay referendums- have moved the Seattle SuperSonics and their 40 years of NBA history to Oklahoma City. As hearts shattered in Seattle, Bennett – who made his money the old fashioned way, by marrying it – grinned like a very sated canary in front of a podium with the NBA logo emblazoned with the letters OKC and said, “We made it. The NBA will be in Oklahoma City next season.” There is no “we” here unless Bennett is talking directly to McClendon. It’s a shame these two ghouls are so adamantly against gay marriage. They deserve each other.

After a six-day federal trial, U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman announced that the city had settled with the two Oklahoma corporate raiders for the paltry sum $75 million, with only 45 million guaranteed. Bennett and McClendon now get to legally steal the team and all Seattle gets back is the right to the name SuperSonics along with the team colors. It’s like losing your house and getting to keep the doorknobs.

Bennett said, with a look on his face about as sincere as George W. Bush at a military funeral,  “It was a tough experience for all of us that were involved in it. There was just so much that happened on both sides, so much misinterpreted, miscommunicated and misunderstood that it was difficult.” (Miscommunicated is not a word.) But Bennett and McClendon haven’t expelled their gob of spit at the sacred hoops of Seattle without help. They can thank the man pulling the strings, a person to whom fans have become little more than scenery for those in the luxury boxes: Commissioner David Stern.

There has been nothing “miscommunicated” by David Stern about whether the Sonics will ever actually have humans to fill those uniforms. He issued the following statement:  “We understand that city, county, and state officials are currently discussing a plan to substantially rebuild KeyArena for the sum of $300 million. If this funding were authorized, we believe KeyArena could properly be renovated into a facility that meets NBA standards relating to revenue generation, fan amenities, team facilities, and the like.”

In other words, if the taxpayers come up with 300 million dollars, then you get a team. This is insult on top of injury. Stern knows perfectly well that the Seattle legislature has spent the last year denying Bennett, McClendon and Stern this taxpayer money. Once again, insult piled on injury. But even worse has been the reaction of Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels. Nickels did some crowing Wednesday, saying that the settlement would cover all the rent, tax revenue and debt on KeyArena “I believed all along enforcing our lease would allow us time to come to a better arrangement,” Nickels said. “We now have that deal.”

Some deal. The city gets its payout. Bennett and McClendon get to move their team to OKC. And the fans get slapped in the face. No one in the Washington state political class showed the courage to stand up to Stern and his cronies. They never pursued municpialization – a kind word for expropriation –  and turning the team into a public utility. Far smarter than all the politicians who so badly bungled the negotiations and then buckled like a belt, was former Sonics star Ray Allen.

He said it perfectly six months ago: “When the team was bought from the previous ownership, they told us and everybody in the city that they sold it to a group that they thought would most likely keep the team in the city. Everybody thought that was some [garbage]. How is someone from Oklahoma City going to buy a team in Seattle who doesn’t have any ties [in Seattle] and has big money in Oklahoma? If things don’t go right, everybody’s craving for the team to move to Oklahoma City.”

Maybe Ray Allen should run for mayor of Seattle. It will be the closest the city gets to having a SuperSonic in the city limits.

DAVE ZIRIN is the author of “Welcome to the Terrordome” (Haymarket). Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:

DAVE ZIRIN is the author of A People’s History of Sports in the United States (The New Press) Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.

November 19, 2018
Robert Fantina
Shithole Countries: Made in the USA
René Voss
Have Your Say about Ranching in Our Point Reyes National Seashore
Weekend Edition
November 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jonah Raskin
A California Jew in a Time of Anti-Semitism
Andrew Levine
Whither the Melting Pot?
Joshua Frank
Climate Change and Wildfires: The New Western Travesty
Nick Pemberton
The Revolution’s Here, Please Excuse Me While I Laugh
T.J. Coles
Israel Cannot Use Violent Self-Defense While Occupying Gaza
Rob Urie
Nuclear Weapons are a Nightmare Made in America
Paul Street
Barack von Obamenburg, Herr Donald, and Big Capitalist Hypocrisy: On How Fascism Happens
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Fire is Sweeping Our Very Streets Today
Aidan O'Brien
Ireland’s New President, Other European Fools and the Abyss 
Pete Dolack
“Winners” in Amazon Sweepstakes Sure to be the Losers
Richard Eskow
Amazon, Go Home! Billions for Working People, But Not One Cent For Tribute
Ramzy Baroud
In Breach of Human Rights, Netanyahu Supports the Death Penalty against Palestinians
Brian Terrell
Ending the War in Yemen- Congressional Resolution is Not Enough!
John Laforge
Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site
Ralph Nader
The War Over Words: Republicans Easily Defeat the Democrats
M. G. Piety
Reading Plato in the Time of the Oligarchs
Rafael Correa
Ecuador’s Soft Coup and Political Persecution
Brian Cloughley
Aid Projects Can Work, But Not “Head-Smacking Stupid Ones”
David Swanson
A Tale of Two Marines
Robert Fantina
Democrats and the Mid-Term Elections
Joseph Flatley
The Fascist Creep: How Conspiracy Theories and an Unhinged President Created an Anti-Semitic Terrorist
Joseph Natoli
Twitter: Fast Track to the Id
William Hawes
Baselines for Activism: Brecht’s Stance, the New Science, and Planting Seeds
Bob Wing
Toward Racial Justice and a Third Reconstruction
Ron Jacobs
Hunter S. Thompson: Chronicling the Republic’s Fall
Oscar Gonzalez
Stan Lee and a Barrio Kid
Jack Rasmus
Election 2018 and the Unraveling of America
Sam Pizzigati
The Democrats Won Big, But Will They Go Bold?
Yves Engler
Canada and Saudi Arabia: Friends or Enemies?
Cesar Chelala
Can El Paso be a Model for Healing?
Mike Ferner
The Tragically Misnamed Paris Peace Conference
Barry Lando
Trump’s Enablers: Appalling Parallels
Ariel Dorfman
The Boy Who Taught Me About War and Peace
Binoy Kampmark
The Disgruntled Former Prime Minister
Faisal Khan
Is Dubai Really a Destination of Choice?
Arnold August
The Importance of Néstor García Iturbe, Cuban Intellectual
James Munson
An Indecisive War To End All Wars, I Mean the Midterm Elections
Nyla Ali Khan
Women as Repositories of Communal Values and Cultural Traditions
Dan Bacher
Judge Orders Moratorium on Offshore Fracking in Federal Waters off California
Christopher Brauchli
When Depravity Wins
Robby Sherwin
Here’s an Idea
Susan Block
Cucks, Cuckolding and Campaign Management
Louis Proyect
The Mafia and the Class Struggle (Part Two)
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail