The parallels between the Oklahoma City Thunder franchise and that of the Sacramento Kings’ are quite eerie. I know “technically” the Thunder and Sonics are their own entities, two completely separate franchises (and in ways they are), but I’ll never think Seattle basketball without thinking Thunder as the two are forever linked together.
From arena issues and possible relocation (and eventual for Seattle) to the fun loving, successful playground style of the current Oklahoma City Thunder, the Sacramento franchise finds themselves in the heart of the NBA Finals despite finishing with a near league worst record. At their peaks, both squads are paired with fun-loving MVP talents in non-major markets, breeding a fun, beautiful style of basketball to a fan base rivaled as the best in the league. Watching the Thunder in the playoffs, you could close your eyes and almost hear the cowbells….
I’m not the only one who thinks so – Mike Wise of the Washington Post also brought up the glory year Kings as the pioneers for the Thunder’s success:
Instead, in the middle of the Midwest, at the start of this high-octane showdown between the NBA MVP and the league’s leading scorer, something is clearly happening — the result of a tectonic shift that began at the start of this decade in, of course, Northern California.
Remember when Chris Webber, Mike Bibby, Vlade Divac and their offensively gifted teammates became the world’s stop-and-pop, church-league team, making the Kings’ jerseys the hottest seller in the NBA, handing so many big-market, beaucoup-TV-bucks franchises their lunch with a beautiful brand of basketball that focused on, of all things, moving the ball to the open man?
Yeah, well, meet the Sacramento Kings — the next millennium.
As Wise points out, the Kings (and now Thunder) made it cool to play in perceived NBA waste-lands. Bright lights can gleam on any subject, assuming you point them there. Despite the heartbreak for those in Seattle, it’s great to see a fan base like Oklahoma City rewarded with such a fun and beautiful product as King fans know so well. And in watching the Thunder, you get that sense of nostalgia in the back of your basketball heart.
It’s a great feeling and it’s why I love this game.