To the fans of Seattle, hear me out.
I don’t write this with ill will. I don’t write this to mock. I certainly don’t write this to harass. I write this with one simple notion in mind – keep your head up.
I know that’s not what you want to hear, especially this soon, but it needs to be said. You as fans have nothing to be ashamed of. Chris Hansen and Steve Ballmer as prospective owners, have nothing to be ashamed of.
The Hansen-Ballmer group did everything asked of them and more in their attempt to bring NBA basketball back to the Northwest and should be commended for it. No, they didn’t come out on the winning side, but it was never about winning and that’s been the source of so much confusion. Maybe it was some of the Seattle media pushing things a bit too far or driving home unrealistic expectations, but NBA bylaw always favors the incumbent. This wasn’t about what Seattle could do or how great their offer was (and it was great), it was about what Sacramento had done to lose their team. The situation would’ve played out exactly the same if the roles were reversed.
When this process began, Sacramento was facing an uphill climb that seemed nearly impossible. Even I’ll admit that. But I knew the fight of the people in Sacramento (and surrounding areas) and while I obviously didn’t know the outcome, I knew we wouldn’t let go of our Kings until our knuckles were bloodied and our faces bruised.
Yes, there were bad apples on both sides of our fandoms but for the most part, Sonic and King fans remained civil – especially outside of the internet.
Little did we know at the time that Chris Hansen would all but save two cities.
Without the Hansen-Ballmer group forcing the hand of Sacramento, who knows what would’ve come from the Kings. Maybe the Maloof family continues to hang on for a few more seasons, floundering as their cash leaks away. Maybe the Kings are sold to another ownership group outside of Sacramento. Maybe they’re sold to a local group who’s more concerned with making a dollar than building a contender. It’s hard to tell, but putting together such an amazing offer forced Sacramento to do the same. Thankfully in our case, it worked out for us and did so in the immediate future (hopefully), but despite not working out for Seattle in the current moment, it undoubtedly did for the future.
Make no mistake, the NBA will return to Seattle. I’ve said it for months and it was clear after today that the NBA wants to bring basketball back to the Emerald City. No, it wont be tomorrow or even next year, but when the television deal does expire, Seattle is going to be atop the list for expansion and there’s few I’d rather have at the helm if I bleed green and yellow than the Hansen-Ballmer group.
I know today is an incredibly tough pill to swallow and the last thing you want to hear is some Kings fan gloating, but that’s the last thing I’m trying to do.
What I am saying is be proud. Flaunt your colors. Represent your team.
Before the Hansen-Ballmer group attempted to purchase the Kings, it was a matter of if the NBA would ever return to Seattle. Now? It’s become a matter of when.
It’s a perfect scenario for incoming NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. With a TV deal that is expected to increase potentially 10-15% overall, Stern has left Silver with a gold mine, a gold mine that will only increase in value with an ownership group like Hansen-Ballmer running an elite franchise in Seattle.
Your time will come, Seattle. I know the frustration and anger boil right now and will linger for quite some time, but have faith that you’re in good hands. The NBA wants you back just as much as you want them back – they just had rules to abide by.
There are a lot of great, passionate fans in Seattle who deserve to get the Sonics back and you will. It’s just a matter of time.
Keep your head up, Seattle. It will happen.
And dammit, you deserve it.