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NBA Finals: Oklahoma City vs. Miami series is also Cleveland vs. Seattle

Cleveland fans jilted by LeBron James and Seattle fans jilted by the departure of the Sonics franchise for Oklahoma City have their own rooting interests in this series.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Staff Writer Published: June 16, 2012

Losing a single player, no matter how big, is nothing like losing an entire team, though. Fans of the former Seattle SuperSonics are so angry about the Thunder's sudden rise they're siding with a team more than 3,000 miles away.

“I think the fans here kind of think that this team was built off the broken backs of Sonics fans,” explained Steve Kelley, a sports columnist for the Seattle Times. “I don't think there's a whole lot of love for Miami, it's more we're just kind of in a what-if mode. If these games were in Seattle now this town would be crazy.”

Despite deep connections between the Thunder and the Sonics, Seattleites just can't get behind white and blue.

“I am rooting for Miami because LeBron has taken enough garbage for his decision and the lack of championships he has won,” said Michael Wilcox, a lifelong Washington resident who spent eight years living in Edmond. “I also want the Thunder to pay their dues much like the Sonics did when they lost in The Finals in 1978 and then returned and won in 1979. They learned and then earned it.”

Truth be told, it’s not the Thunder players or staff who has Seattle riled up, Kelley said. Kevin Durant and Nick Collison played for the team while it was still in Seattle. Thunder coach Scott Brooks was a Seattle assistant coach, and Sam Presti was general manager before the team’s move to Oklahoma City.

It was the interplay between seller and buyers, said Wilcox and Kelley, which left so many in the Puget Sound feeling ripped off. And, yes, a little bit jealous.