Second Sonics?

The newest plan to bring the NBA back to Seattle.

In Monday night's heartbreaking overtime loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the superstar tandem of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook accounted for nearly half of the Oklahoma City Thunder's points. Seattle fans who watched the pair at home would have been hard-pressed not to picture the stats coming in blurs of Sonics green instead of blue. Washington State Reps. Mike Hope (R-Lake Stevens) and David Frockt (D-Seattle) apparently know this tendency among Sonics fans well, and have chosen now, with OKC competing for a shot at the NBA Finals, as the time to announce a new effort to bring the NBA back to Seattle. Hope tells Seattle Weekly that he plans to draw up legislation that takes advantage of a "broad coalition" of private and public investments to bring a new or renovated stadium, and ultimately an NBA team, to Seattle. A tall order, to be sure. "I hope to have legislation by beginning of next session that I can bring forward and that will produce results," Hope says. I'll-bring-a-team-home rhetoric is something Seattleites have heard many times before—most recently just a couple of weeks ago, when Mayor McGinn said he "missed" the Sonics and pledged to fight for them if given the opportunity (the political-rhetoric equivalent of a wide-open layup). But without voter support—or an uncle rich enough to fund a new stadium or an overhaul of KeyArena—no team is coming. Hope insists that he's not just paying lip service to the idea, and he points to his reach across the aisle and his fast-approaching deadline for "results" as proof that he's serious. "Other people that tried this didn't have to show results," he says. "We don't have to go to the voters. A lot of different states have different ways of paying for it. Green Bay has a stock-option plan where the people own it. The point is it's an economic issue." Few Seattle sports fans would be more thrilled to hear about a concerted effort by politicians to bring a basketball team back to Seattle than the Sonicsgate crew. After making the film Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team, director Jason Reid, producer Adam Brown, and the rest of their cohorts have almost singlehandedly kept the three-years-gone Sonics in the news. (They've also received help from former star Shawn Kemp, who publicly turned down a free courtside ticket at an OKC playoff game in a show of Sonics solidarity.) The crew's stunts include videotaping fans heckling Starbucks CEO and former team owner/turncoat Howard Schultz at a Costco book signing and traveling to OKC games in full Sonics regalia. Brown says that he supports Hope and Frockt's new effort, though he notes that it's too early to tell if it will amount to anything. He also goes back to what's seemingly become the fallback hope for Sonics zealots: that someone (implied to be either Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, or Paul Allen) will simply pay for a stadium, wrap it in a bow, and present it to the city. "Ever since we've started, we've met with people who say they want to bring the Sonics back. Every once in a while these ideas spring up. But we'll throw our full support behind it," Brown says. "We know that ultimately it will take a businessman with generosity in his heart to put down private money to make this work. But we'll see if [Hope and Frockt] mean it." Whether the peppy Reps can deliver anything besides basket blue balls remains to be seen. But if there ever were a time to try and stoke the fires of Sonics nostalgia, it's probably while the superstars who should be Seattle's are three games away from playing for a title.

 
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