It felt so close you could almost taste it. Hell, it felt so close that hedge-funder and local hero Chris Hansen bought celebrating Sonics fans a beer at F.X. McRory’s after the Memorandum of Understanding for his proposed SoDo arena was approved by the Seattle and King County Councils—a victory you really could taste. And that was just the beginning. After Hansen, Steve Ballmer, and their assembled group of local billionaires entered into an agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings from the bumbling Maloof brothers, it felt so close that we put Shawn Kemp kissing a basketball on our cover, proclaiming “It’s Reigning Again!” Trouble was, the return of the Sonics’ reign was not yet to be. After some last-minute mayoral heroics from Sacramento’s Kevin Johnson and some predictable douchey-ness from outgoing NBA commissioner David Stern, Seattle was once again crapped on by the pro basketball league it wants so desperately to get back into. For Sonics fans, disappointment has become the name of the game, but this latest letdown stung more than most. Surely the NBA will eventually return to Seattle. But it didn’t this year. And it totally sucked.