Friday, June 22, 2012

What Is It Gonna Take to Get Over It: A Seattle Fan’s Perspective

Editor's Note: The Diss. is proud to publish this piece by friend of the blog Eric Manley. Eric is a Seattle native, and feels strongly about his sports. He's the kind of asshole you argue in a bar with, but then you realize he knows what Points Per Possession means, and you become allies because it is really you two against the rest of the idiots in the world. Eric wrote this piece before the Heat won the Finals last night.

Hi, my name is Eric, and I hate the NBA. I didn't always, in fact I used to love pro basketball, but then 2008 happened and I've held a grudge ever since. You see, I am a Seattle sports fan. Or let me be more specific, I'm a Seattle sports mega-fan. I'm not talking just Mariners and Seahawks, I'm talking Mariners, Seahawks, Sounders, Storm, Huskies, hell, even Sockeye. If they represent Seattle, chances are, I love them (I may not be this guy, but I’m not so very far off). So given the timing and location of this post, I think you know where I am going. I am a Sonics fan, and that's why I hate the NBA.

If you don't know the story of how the Sonics were stolen away from Seattle to become the Oklahoma City Douchenozzlers, please do two things: 1. Slap yourself in the face for being four years behind the times, and 2. Go watch sonicsgate. It is quite well made and features more Gary Payton than you get in your normal life, and everybody needs more Gary Payton in their lives. I won't go into it all here, I'll just given the super short version. Seattle had a strong vibrant fan base, and also a strong group of people who didn't like giving hundreds of millions of dollars to billionaires so they can make more money. David Stern didn't like that and decided to make an example of the city. Ever since then, I have been doing my best to boycott the NBA. I never actively seek out a game to watch, although I will admit watching games when they come on in bars or in social situations.

If I were to give a reason as to why I love Seattle sports so much, it's probably the simple fact of being an impressionable kid at the right time. I first became interested in sports when I was six years old, being born in June, that means from June 1995 to June 1996. The 1995-1996 year was almost unarguably the greatest year in Seattle sports history. The Mariners had their miracle season and immediately afterwards we got to ride the Payton-Kemp train to the most exciting Sonics season of my lifetime. I can't tell you my address from that year, I can't tell you my phone number from the house I lived in, or what kind of car my dad drove, but I can tell you the almost complete rosters of the 1995 Mariners and 1996 Sonics. By the time the 1996 Finals ended, as I dried my tears while watching Jordan and Chicago celebrate, I was hooked and never looked back. Little did I know the pain that would come with loving Seattle sports, but love them I do, I just didn't know how little that mattered.

In summer 2008, as the possibility of a departure was quickly becoming a reality, I realized the complete lack of power of a fan base. In the end all I could really do was attend "Save Our Sonics" rallies and hope beyond hope that somehow the right outcome would come about, that somebody would save our team. Nope. Seattle mayor Greg Nickels decided to swoop in and add himself to the cast of villains (ironically sealing the fate of his political career), taking a paltry fee in order to allow Clay Bennett to stick a knife in my and countless other hearts. I understand how dumb and nonsensical it is care about sports, but I still do it. So when that knife went in and twisted, boy did it hurt.

Now, they say time heals all wounds, and maybe it does, but this wound was not yet healed, maybe just starting to scab over. Well, the OKC Blumperfaces decided to go ahead and make the Finals and rip that scab off, with a nice helping of salt added for good effect. After that 96 Finals, I was sure the Sonics would bring a championship ring home eventually, and if that ring goes to the city that stole my team away, I don't know what I'll do, but I sure won't be happy.

The Miami Heat are one of the most unlikable teams in all of sports, but I am desperate for them to win. And I'm not alone. Washington state is pulling for the Heat, and believe me it's not just because we all want Felix Hernandez to be happy. I can understand why unbiased observers like OKC. Kevin Durant, is by all appearances, THE model of what a professional athlete should be, and while I can respect him as a person, and as an athlete, I refuse to root for him as a professional basketball player.

While this Finals has reopened many of the wounds from the summer of 2008, it has also raised some interesting questions. Most notably, I was talking to a person from Oregon, who while a Trailblazers fan, had a close enough connection to Seattle, that he could empathize with my pain. However, as we watched game 3 of the Finals, and discussed how much I hate the OKC Poopfaces he essentially told me that as much as I hate them now, eventually I've got to just get over it and move on. Usually the people who are saying to 'get over it' are some combination of Oklahoma fans, or people who don't know the story, but to hear it from a Pacific Northwesterner got me thinking, what would it take for me to 'get over it'?

Therefore NBA, I have created a list of demands for what it will take for me to forgive you and the Thunder, and to allow me to go root for another team in peace. If you truly are all about the fans like you try to say you are, I assume you will fulfill a sufficient number of these requests. I have grouped them in three categories, that I will explain below.

Category 1: Do this and we'll consider everything good, no questions asked.
  • Move the OKC Thunder to Seattle changing their name to the Seattle Supersonics.
Please do this. Please.

Now assuming that never happens, we move to categories 2 and 3 which will require a combination of factors to bring me back.

Category 2: If you want me back do this first (this MUST be fulfilled to get me back/allow me to forgive)
  • Stop pretending the Thunder existed before 2008 and give sole possession of the Sonics history to the city of Seattle.
The Thunder exist, the Sonics don't, that's a fact I have to live with, but stop with these shared history shenanigans. Don't use Sonics stats, don't claim our championship or our finals appearances, if it happened before the move, as far as the Thunder should be concerned it never happened. Seriously, even Charles Barkley says so. Let our team be ours, and let your team make its own history. As long as the Thunder lay claim to the Sonics history, I will never forgive them, so stop trying!

Category 3: List of things that could get me back / allow me to forgive, but require a combination with something else.

Note: I have given every factor a point value. Any combination of factors that add up to 100 is enough in my mind to (combined with returning team history of course) allow me to forgive the Thunder and become an NBA fan again.
  1. Create Seattle Supersonics via expansion team.
No stealing required; this is a full 100 points by itself.
  1. Move another team to Seattle, renaming it Supersonics.
Just giving Seattle a new team isn't good enough if it's a stolen team. Something else is needed as well.
  1. Formal apology from Clay Bennett including restitution.
I want Clay Bennett to admit that he never planned for the Sonics to remain in Seattle, and to apologize to the fans for not acting in good faith on his promise to try and keep the team in Seattle. Also as a measure of good faith, he must pay the $30 million he agreed to pay if the city reached an arena deal by 2009, since the city has now found an arena plan.
  1. Fire David Stern.
He is the reason that the NBA is in such shambles that it needs to make examples of cities in order to blackmail other cities into giving them money to make themselves financially viable. Fire him, it will make a lot of people happy, and also leave the NBA in better shape.
  1. Just the apology from Clay Bennett, no money.
Once Clay admits that there was nothing we fans could do to keep the team once he had his claws on it, it will go a long ways towards me forgiving him, his team and the league. I am sick of people erroneously claiming that it was somehow the fault of the Seattle fan base that caused the team to leave.
  1. David Stern retires.
Not nearly as good, but at least he's gone.
  1. Remove Clay Bennett as head of the NBA relocation committee.
Appointing him was just insulting. Do you care about your image, NBA?
  1. Create and promote a UFC style cage match between one of Howard Schultz, Clay Bennett, David Stern or Greg Nichols and a Seattle fan.
Give us a chance to vent with a good ol fashioned ass woopin´.
  1. Link to sonicsgate on
Plus 5 points if it's on the Thunder website. Minus 5 points if it's not a permanent link.
  1. Make Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton a broadcasting duo for games.
Screw Shaq and Barkley, let's get Kemp and Payton.
  1. Have the players start playing defense in the regular season.
I'm just saying, this would be nice.
  1. Make the playoffs not last so damned long.
Seriously, this is ridiculous.
  1. Bring back NBA on NBC with the old school graphics and Bob Costas.
We need more 90's in our lives


So that's my list, have anything you think should be added? Put it in the comments.

The NBA came and ripped away part of my childhood. If some of these things come to pass, I think I can find a way to move on. But even if I become an NBA fan again, it will never be the same. My eyes have been opened, and I'll never be able to go all the way back to the childlike innocence I used to have.

But until some of these things come to pass, I think I'm just going to continue my quiet boycott, and boy will I be angry if the OKC buttmunchers find themselves in possession of a championship trophy. Congratulations NCAA basketball, you continue to have my full and undivided basketball attention.


  1. Fantastic tell me more about that sandwich in the picture...

  2. Now, while I am not him, I have been to Chile, where that was taken.

    It is called a "Choripan" which is a mashup of Chorizo (sausage) and Pan (bread). Basically, it's a hot dog. The green shit is Palta, which is a larger, blander avocado. The white shit is mayo.