SEATTLE — Having to follow the Sonics from 2,000 miles away is not the most fun thing I’ve ever done. Thankfully, every so often I wake up, pull out my laptop, fire up the Seattle Times’ web site and get a good read from columnist Jerry Brewer. For those in Oklahoma who aren’t familiar with Jerry’s work, I suggest a quick Nexis search or even google. You’ll find some pretty, ahem, entertaining stuff regarding the whole off-the-court situation, specifically with regard to Clay Bennett. I got a chance to get Jerry’s thoughts on a few things after the game. Here’s what he had to say….
On the atmosphere in Seattle
It’s a very tense situation. I don’t feel like the ownership has been totally frank with everyone. And so there’s just a lot of confusion on exactly what they’re trying to do. They say they want to do everything to keep the team here, but yet and still by their actions they leave a lot of doubt. They don’t seem to have a desire to clean up some of those problems. And that’s the real worrisome thing. Either they have the thinnest skin ever, or they just don’t care.
On the crowd
It just shows that there are a lot of people in
Seattle who love basketball. And they love the Sonics. And they will support this team as long as the team wants to be supported.
Seattle politics is a funny thing. They like to argue, argue, argue stuff, and they like to do stuff at the last minute. But I think if they just grinded it out a little bit more, they would work out a comfortable situation and get everything that they want.
On the mood of the people
You’ve got the fans who are die-hard, who are going to come to the game and protest like Save Our Sonics chanted in the crowd. But you’ve got a lot of people here who are just resigned to the fact that they’re leaving. And all they want to do is talk about how much they hate the situation. And it’s not just Clay. Clay thinks it’s him a lot, but a lot of people are just as mad that Howard Schultz sold the team to the outside and caused this whole mess. But for the average true
Seattle sports fan it’s something that’s constantly on their minds. Because nobody wants to lose a basketball team. They don’t want to lose that brand. It says something about a city if you have all the major sports. And it would just be a huge void if basketball was gone.
On how he sees the situation playing out
Maybe I’m overly optimistic, but I still think there’s a possibility that some private investors can make something happen. There’s just a lot of money in this city. And that’s another thing, sometimes we think there might be sort of a quiet movement where people are meeting with Clay and talking about ideas. But he never really talks about it. But if he’s not taking advantage of that, or if he’s not seeking out those people, he’s making a great mistake.
I think basketball can succeed in
Oklahoma City if they win. But can a franchise there handle the tough years? Years like this, when a team has no chance to win. I mean this team has no chance to win. It’s too young. But it’ll be interesting to see if
Oklahoma’s going to be stable enough to hold a franchise for years and years.
Seattle’s history of last-ditch efforts
It’s truly the 11th hour.
Seattle’s had to deal with a last minute save for a baseball park and for a football stadium. Maybe because those two things have happened, we sort of have the feeling that something’s going to happen here. But this one is a lot more grave of a situation because you’re talking about somebody whose motivation is a little different.