Here's a scary thought: children in Seattle, born after 2008, might never know what a Seattle Supersonic was. Of course, if Chris Hansen and his band of wealthy investors have their way that might change in that not-too-distant future, but for now the story of the Sonics is left up to those who recall the era of green and gold b-ball in this town to pass down to future generations.
Described by SportsGrid as an "ironic coping mechanism for the zombified masses still in shock over the Sonics' departure," the e-book, which started making small Internet waves late last week, isn't actually intended for children - though its 32 pages, child-like illustrations and rhymes involving Shawn Kemp dunks and Michael Cage's jheri curl may find an audience in the old and young alike.
"I too relocated from Seattle, in my case a year and a half ago, after the ad firm I was working for closed its doors and I decided to seek other opportunities," says Gall of how his Seattle roots.
"As my interest and hope for the return of the NBA to Seattle began to regenerate, I thought about putting out something simple and quick about the Sonics, in hope of renewing fan interest and discussion about who the team was and why they left. And the fact is, it's pretty sad that kids growing up in Seattle today will literally be asking their parents the question of who the Supersonics were and why they left," says Gall. "I thought that I could create something that would be a nice way for parents to be able to take a trip down memory lane, through the good AND tragic times, at the same time teaching their kids an important civic history lesson about what was among many Seattleites' fondest memories--the Sonics."
Living in Chicago, Gall says many basketball fans he talks to don't know the facts about how the Sonics came to leave Seattle, and that even many real-life Sonics fans - himself included - may have suppressed some of the worst parts of the sad transgression. It's part of what inspired him to take on the "children's" book.
"I watched Sonicsgate for the first time in a couple years (teary-eyed by the end, naturally) and realized that I had forgotten (or perhaps, more likely, repressed) many of unfortunate events that had occurred," says Gall. "And it wasn't just me. People have short memories about what actually happened. I read a couple comments from folks who don't remember that Kevin Durant actually was drafted by, or even played for the Sonics. Some people actually think it was lack of fan interest that did resulted in the OKC move. Still others here in Chicago actually said to me that they didn't even know the team had relocated, and that the Sonics still existed and were alive and well. It just showed me that a lot of folks, save the ones who consider themselves to be the hardest of die-hard fans, may not recall or even know about everything that went down with the move."
And thus the Mommy, What's a Seattle Supersonic? was born.
"I decided to do a quick book that parents could read to their kids, complete with embedded highlight videos from YouTube, to help them remember, or learn about for the first time, Seattle's most beloved sports franchise," says Gall. "A kids book also made sense because while I've written professionally for several years, I am an absolutely terrible artist, and I realized that anything I tried to draw would look like something a kid would do--so I thought maybe kids would relate to that a little better than something that was drawn with a more skilled hand. And I thought making the story into a linear tale that rhymed would be a fun way to explain the history of the Sonics in a way kids would enjoy and relate to. And if I got lucky, maybe a kid would even start to ask if they could hear about Shawn Kemp's "Lister Blister" dunk every night before bedtime."
We can only hope.
Previously on The Daily Weekly: