Florida isn't the only state cheering for the Heat. There are a certain group of fans that remember the days when the Thunder weren't the Thunder at all but were the Seattle Supersonics!
It was November 2nd, 2007, now generally considered one of the darkest days in Seattle sports fans history. Yes, November 2nd, 2007, the day the Seattle Supersonics announced they would be moving to Oklahoma City. A deal could not be reached to keep the team in Seattle and a group led by Clay Bennett would move the team. There they were - the proud Seattle Sonics, a franchise steeped in history, having joined the league in 1967 and winning six divisional titles, 3 conference titles, and one NBA championship - and then it was over. Clay Bennett had originally said he would keep the team in Seattle, so moving them was a tough pill to swallow for Seattle basketball fans. I can tell you first hand, having just spent 6 weeks in Seattle that they are far from over it. As you walk into a sports bar in Seattle and look around at the myriad of screens you wonder to yourself just where is the basketball game? Let's see, there's the Seattle Sounders on the big 60 inch screen in the middle and the Seattle Mariners on some smaller screens to the left and the right. Then there's the National Hockey League playoffs appearing on a couple of other screens, but no Oklahoma City Thunder. As the bartender approaches you and says, "May I help you?" you say, "Yes, where is the basketball game?" The bartender (looking indignant) motions to a screen in the corner and says, " I could put it on there for you." That's the attitude in Seattle when it comes to the National Baskeball Association. It isn't just this one particular bartender has disdain for basketball, but also the fireman, the barber, and the grocery store owner. People are just bitter about the way it happened and are now angry at the Oklahoma City Thunder and Clay Bennett. To really understand it, you have to go to Seattle and experience it. When you actually do get the games on TV, you can bet that all of Seattle will be cheering against the Thunder and it doesn't matter who they are playing. The team was originally put up for sale because the owners couldn't reach agreement with the city on a publicly funded 220 million dollar expansion of Key Arena in Seattle. The deal would have kept the Sonics in Seattle because the new ownership led by Mr. Bennett would have 12 months to reach a deal for an arena. The Sonics already had a lease in Key Arena through 2010 and the owner had said he would keep the team there. The new ownership never got the deal though and the team moved to Oklahoma City. The Seattle fans felt betrayed by Bennett because he had said he would do all he could to keep the team in Seattle. Bennett was however, from Oklahoma City, and Seattle fans never thought he was serious about eventually moving the team. They hold it against Bennett and the Sonics (now the Thunder) for what they consider to be a stab in the back. Oklahoma City hasn't done much to help heal the wounds and when they advanced to the conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs, they had shirts made up that said, "thanks Seattle" on the back and with the Seattle skyline on the front, the words Oklahoma City Thunder. As you might imagine, this has further aggravated the Seattle faithful. So now what is rapidly becoming the most successful franchise in NBA history from a fan perspective and is drawing all kinds of attention to Olkahoma City is further enraging Seattle fans, for they figure it's their team. After all they feel it's their draft picks, and they were the ones that supported the team through thick and thin. As of this writing the Thunder are down 3 games to 1 and they have the last of their nine lives on the line Friday morning. Seattletonians have joined Florida in cheering against OKC, and most feel that the team is about to be served their just desserts.
Are the Seattle fans just a little bit too bitter or is there no crying in basketball? As always we would love to hear from you.