In last night's lopsided loss to the Dallas Mavericks, the Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant scored 40 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Russell Westbrook added 20 points and three assists. 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 a top-level basketball 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," he says.
The I'll-bring-a-team-home rhetoric is something Seattleites have heard before--most recently just a couple weeks ago by Mayor Mike McGinn, who said he "missed" the Sonics and pledged to fight for them if he has the opportunity. But without voter support, or a rich enough uncle to fund a new stadium or overhaul of KeyArena, no team is coming.
Hope insists that he's not just paying lip service, and he points to his reach across the aisle and 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.
Sonicsgate goes to Denver to ring cowbells against Oklahoma City.
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 (with some occasional help from Shawn Kemp) by doing things like videotaping fans giving Starbucks CEO and team turncoat Howard "The Coward" Schultz a piece of their mind, and traveling to previous OKC games in full Sonics regalia--plus cowbells and signs, sans shame.
Adam Brown tells us 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 becoming the fall-to hope with Sonics zealots: that someone (inferred to be either Steve Ballmer, Bill Gates, or Paul Allen) will simply buy 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 blueballs remains to be seen. But if there were ever a time to try and stoke the fires of Sonics nostalgia, it's probably while the superstar who should be Seattle's is dropping 40-plus-point games in the playoffs.