Dec 23, 2012; Seattle, WA, USA; General view of the Space Needle and the downtown Seattle skyline before the NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Seattle Seahawks. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

To Seattle, From A Sacramento Kings Fan

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.

Tags: Relocation Sacramento Kings Seattle Sonics

  • Imua

    Seattle fans could swallow this bitter pill and move forward without any ill-will IF:
    A) This was a fair fight.
    B) Sacramento deserved to win this battle.
    C) Anyone with a straight face can say Seattle didn’t get used and abused… twice.
    D) Mafia boss David Stern wasn’t so smug in his obvious hatred of Seattle.

    SCREW David Stern, SCREW the NBA

    Before anyone dares utter the words, “You stay classy Seatlle”, explain where the NBA or any of it’s representatives have shown Seattle ANY class in any of this.

    • aroyalpain

      Lol, really?

      • Imua

        Really. Go ahead and laugh Sacto fan. The ONLY bright side for Seattle is that we don’t have to live with the remnants of a $#!TT& franchise.

        • Ron Grummer

          Speaking entirely from the perspective of someone who spends much more time in Sacramento than in Seattle, you are 100% correct. What’s more, the remnants of that somewhat smelly team, are also getting screwed as the downtown arena and the tax dollars that have been pledged to support it are not any more popular than that team. Part of the reason they were on the block, is that they have a hard time filling the crappy little home arena they have now.

        • Cda

          Nobody loves a crap team like we do which is why they stayed :)

  • chad

    There will always be people who suck on lemons and complain about the taste instead of making lemonade and reaching for the sugar. Trolls..

    • Imua

      Okay Mr. Delusional — intelligently explain how Seattle makes lemonade out of getting screwed again before you start calling people freakin’ trolls. Suck on that.

  • Craig

    To Sacramento, from a Seattleite-

    Congrats on having earned the NBA rubber-stamp and privilege to keep your team. Losing a team is painful, and even more so if your city doesn’t have other professional sport franchises. I had been hoping that an expansion team had been more seriously discussed for one of us so that we could all come out winners.

    That said, I hope that the Maloofs and Hansen’s group sue the NBA and win. Sure, I am bitter about the completely contradictory ways that Seattle and Sacramento were treated when confronted with similar (albeit not identical) relocation scenarios by Stern and the rest of the NBA. Sure, I’m pissed that, of all people Bennett sat as the chair of the relocation committee.

    But this isn’t about that. This is about ending the cycle of professional sports organizations and owners extorting new facilities from cities using the threat of relocation. It’s hard to say whether your arena deal will pan out like you all hope it will, but from where I sit and the deal our city had lined up, your city seems to be getting the short end of the stick. Having Seattle be to basketball as what LA is to football is a situation that sucks for both of our cities. Years of tradition should mean something more than being a piggybank for a private organization to break into every decade is bullshit.

  • Imua

    Stern colluded with his Oklahoma buddy Clay Bennett twice to screw Seattle. He let personal friend Bennet and his Oklahoma cronies use deceipt to steal the Sonics from Seattle in the first place. Then Stern put Bennett in charge of the NBA “relocation committee” that influenced the decision about whether Seattle would get a team this time around.

    So yeah, Seattle fans are way bitter because Stern worked against them when the Sonics left, and he worked actively behind the scenes against Seattle when they tried to get a team back… saying “well the incumbant had the advantage…” where the #$^*# was that policty and support from Stern before?

    And Stern SPECIFICALLY said F-U Seattle in his press conference announcing the Kings would stay in Sacramento. He started his comments by referencing OKC. Then he 5-second paused when asked if Seattle had been used as a pawn before giving a non-answer. Then he closed his comments by saying Seattle would be given NO assurances of a franchise or another team and that expansion talks were years away. He said in the event that expansion talks EVER took place in the future, Seattle would only be assured that they would be considered fairly, just like VANCOUVER?!, VIRGINIA BEACH?!, LAS VEGAS?!, ANAHEIM?! What the freak.

    If Stern’s intention in all of this was to create a nuclear war with Seattle fans, I think he may have just got it.

  • The OMG

    To Sacramento,

    Congrats! Frankly, I’m glad you kept your team and in the process galvanized your community to unite behind the civic pride you’ve always exhibited. The NBA doesn’t deserve you. The citizens of Sacramento have generally conducted themselves with a high level of class along with KJ in rallying to keep the Kings. The NBA is the only party in this stained and stinking of the decay that the NBA product has devolved into. Sacramento good luck. As a Seattle native and lifetime Sonics fan, I didn’t want to strong arm your team from you while you’ve labored under bad ownership that seemed bent on sticking it to you one last time. I want our Sonics back. The ones that Clay Bennett lied through his teeth to squirrel off to OKC with. That deal was nauseating and heisting the Kings would’ve been unacceptable as a correction to that wrong. The NBA is fooling itself if it believes there are a surplus of world class cities that it can flush down the toilet like the Seattle one and maybe they were showing an understanding of that by not disenfranchising another in Sac-Town. So once again, congrats, good luck, and I will be rooting for the Kings now along with the fan base that they belong to.