Posts Tagged ‘Seattle Sonics’

Successor of the Seattle Sonics, who were dismantled a few weeks ago, Oklahoma City has still no name. But apparently, the franchise owner would be on the verge to put an end to the mystery.

According to a TV report, the long-awaited new name of the basketball team in Oklahoma City would be the “Thunder”. What do you guys think ’bout it? It sounds good to me!

It’s still unofficial, though. But it’s just a matter of time before the rumor becomes an official news!

Meanwhile, more than 16,000 fans signed up for a season ticket request, in only 16 days. Definitely a great start!

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Gary Payton against John Stockton.

Come to think of it… with the Seattle Sonics being wiped off the map, where will former All-Star Gary Payton get his jersey retired?

I guess you guys are aware of it: when a great player puts an end to his career, getting his jersey retired in the arena where he performed well is a commonplace tradition in the NBA. You’ve probably already seen plenty of ’em… Y’know these are the jerseys you see hanging from the rafters in NBA arenas. It’s a nice way to pay tribute to the players, and to keep them in memory forever.

Concerning Payton, the logic would be to retire his jersey in Seattle, where he pulled off most of his feats. But there’s gonna be some sort of a “technical problem” about it, a big issue… given that from now there won’t be any basketball games in Seattle any more! Talk about a dilemma…

Just for the record, I’ve always despised this player. His me-first attitude often got on my nerves. He was cheeky on the court, a real asshole and most often he gave me the impression that he didn’t respect his opponents. It was a well-known fact that Payton was always using the infamous “trash-talking” on the court. You know, when you spend your time insulting your direct opponent, and bitchin’ about almost referee’s call. Trash talkers say it keeps them motivated, and the aim is nothing less to break down mentally their adversaries. Well, that’s not the way I envision sport, but it’s an usual practice in the league. Over the years this bad habit tends to disappear, though.

But of course, Payton wasn’t just this trash-talker that bugged me. More than anything else, he was a tremendous basketball player. I mean he really was. And I gotta give the guy a lotta credit for that. A great deal of folks were just stunned by his skills, including me. Basically, his stats with the Sonics were about 23 ppg and 8 apg.
He made several All-Star appearances, and along with his buddy Shawn Kemp even led the Seattle Sonics to the NBA Finals in ’96, against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. The team of the 90’s proved to be way too strong for the young Sonics, but after that Seattle and Payton got the overdue respect they deserved in the L.

Like most NBA superstars, he even got a nickname, his being “The Glove”, stemming from his stifling defense, and his knack to steal the ball. Yeah, ’cause Payton didn’t settle for being an outstanding offensive player, he also was a real leech defensively. Moreover, he never forgot to involve his teammates on offense, with many assists per game, and with him on the court, his teammates kept getting better and better. A complete game! Making your teammates better is what makes the difference between a good player and a tremendous player.

Anyway, it’s hard to believe that Payton’s jersey will be retired in Oklahoma City. It wouldn’t make any sense. I mean he never played over there, and besides fans have never seen him playing… except on TV.

In Miami? Well, I can’t overlook the fact he won his single NBA title in Florida, but truthfully he was already done at the time. When he signed with the Heat, it was the beginning of the end for him. He wasn’t the Gary Payton we used to appreciate in Seatlle.
Sometimes, you even felt sorry for the guy, besides his stats were downright ludicrous: only 5.8 ppg, 1.6 apg with still an important playing time, about 24 minutes per game. In his second season with Miami, he only played 2 games, plagued by injuries. After his stint in Miami he wisely decided to throw in the towel, well aware that his old legs couldn’t take it anymore.
Nah, the highlights of his career were definitely in Seattle, no doubt about it.

So once again, where his jersey should be retired? Well, maybe you got a solution, as for me I just can’t figure out an answer to it. It’s such an uncommon situation, probably unheard of!

 

The Sonics kicked the bucket and formally ended their journey in the NBA three days ago, and as a consequence Oklahoma city will get an NBA franchise next season.

 

Even if we saw that coming for ages, I was kind of taken aback when I read this breaking news. I mean Sonics were part of Seattle for more than 40 years! And all of a sudden, the business-minded NBA says : “It’s over”. Just like that. Because their arena (Key arena) was deemed outdated by the NBA’s board of governors. It wasn’t financially worthwhile anymore.

 

And in the nick of time Seattle’s staff proved to be unable to build another arena, which coerced the NBA to close the Sonics’ coffin.

 

I was not a Seattle Sonics fan, just for the record. But I think it’s a little bit shocking to wipe out a team in cold blood. 41 years of sports history in Seattle have been erased in a callous way. I mean can you imagine for one second how the average Sonics fan feel right now? He certainly feels distressed, to say the least. His toy has just been stolen, and there’s no way for him to get it back! Now, he can just turn on the waterworks and that’s about all.

 

Okay guys I read Stern’s comments on the possibility to bring back an NBA team in Seattle in the future but in my opinion it’s a cop out.

Here’s what he said : “Given the lead-times associated with any franchise acquisition or relocating and with a construction project as complex as a Key Arena renovation, authorization of the public funding needs to occur by the end of 2009 in order for there to be any chance for the NBA to return to Seattle within the next five years.”

 

Seattle folks were used to watch basketball for 41 years. Their Sonics brought them some dream, some hope… You can’t deny there is a basketball culture in this city, you just can’t turn it off! Outstanding players have widely contributed to basketball development here.

Way back in ’79, Seattle even won the NBA title, spearheaded by legendary coach Lenny Wilkens, and reached once again the NBA Finals in ’96, with Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp at the pinnacle of their career.

 

And what about all those kids who were downright mesmerized on a daily basis by their NBA players ? Now they’ll just see basketball in front of their TV… Talk about a U-turn!

 

Well, economic issues have prevailed in this case… and that’s plain sad, because it didn’t take into consideration all the human beings who were proud and dedicated for their their Sonics team for more than 4 decades.