We basketball fans in the Pacific Northwest are bursting at the seams with newfound giddiness over the prospect of seeing a new arena built in SODO, which brings with it the promise of professional basketball returning to Seattle. A cool little side-effect to the “Bring Back Our Sonics” (BBOS) movement is how we’ve become re-acquainted with our Seattle SuperSonics past, reviving our fond memories and love of our basketball team.
Though it’s nearly impossible to fathom a silver lining could exist in the dark cloud of the Sonics departure, for me it would have to be the way this campaign has enabled us to truly remember all of the good, to relive and relish the 41 seasons we lived and breathed Sonics basketball. It’s made me realize that our basketball team really was a true gem, of the Emerald City variety, even if the NBA had taken some of the luster off it during the last few seasons the team was here.
Since the team left, it’s as if our Sonics fandom has been frozen in time. There hasn’t been anything new to get excited about, nothing to look forward to on the pro basketball front. Because there aren’t any flashy new players in town for us to be smitten with, the statures of those who were here are intensified. Our Sonics history, our memories, they stopped accruing after 2008. We don’t have any new stars here, like a Kevin Durant, someone to fawn over, to idolize, to pin our playoff hopes on, or someone to give us NBA title dreams. Because of that, we’re left to dance with who “brung” us. So we fondly remember our favorite Sonics players of yore. We pay homage to them. We celebrate them even more than we maybe otherwise would have. They’re it. They’re all we’ve got. Those are the guys who created our Sonics basketball history. And we love to rattle off their names as we reminisce with friends, especially when trying to recall some of the more obscure players who wore the green and yellow (and sometimes burnt orange) over those 41 years.
From the icons’ perspective, imagine how cool it must be for Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, Slick Watts, and Detlef Schrempf to be feelin’ the love from Sonics Nation and celebrated in larger-than-life fashion as they are right now. Not that they weren’t already beloved, but now it’s over the top, “Sonic Boom” style! I’ve gotta believe that the cause is amplifying it – and it’s all good!
So, now we’re merely months away, maybe just weeks away, from knowing whether our pro basketball memories in Seattle will remain indefinitely frozen in time, or they’ll be coming off “pause” soon. Either way, until we get the new incarnation of the SuperSonics, there will be no new basketball players to warrant our attention, let alone our affections. So, in the meantime, we remain fixated on the ones who served us, the ones we do know and love. Cherishing our Sonics memories, with the men who made them, gets us all lathered up and propels us to take action to demonstrate our support to the city and county council members, the elected officials whose approval is necessary to pave the way for the next generation of Supes. In the meantime, the Glove, the Reign Man, Slick, Det, and some of the others get to keep holding court, just like back in their heyday, maybe even more so.
It’s often said we don’t realize what we have ‘til it’s gone. Well, after the initial shock, hurt, denial, and anger had subsided, BBOS helped me, and I’m sure many other Sonics fans, to realize that the absence of our team has indeed made the heart grow fonder. And just maybe, the silver lining to the (“Thunder”) cloud is, the fans get unprecedented access to our Sonics heroes, while those legends get a little extra time in the SuperSonics spotlight.