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Originally published May 21, 2011 at 8:02 PM | Page modified May 21, 2011 at 10:00 PM

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Seattle readers react to Oklahoma City Thunder's playoff series

We asked Seattle Times readers how they felt about the Oklahoma City Thunder playing Dallas in the NBA playoffs. Here's what you had to say.

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Haiku

Not enough lattes

Sonics gone away

did not buy enough latte

Mavericks eat Clay

— Alan Banks

Thunder's roar

Thunder, hear it roar

The Sonics, they are no more

Oh, how I abhor

— Nancy Mizrahi

Sonic Thunder

The Key to success

Was sold to Oklahoma

They stole our thunder.

— Xuxu

Limericks

Aroma of Oklahoma

There was a basketball team in Seattle,

That lost a relocation battle,

So they went to Oklahoma,

Where they found the aroma,

Of the back ends of pigs and cattle.

— Kenneth E. Bruestle

No battle in Seattle

There once was a team from Seattle,

who was sold without much of a battle.

once swept from under,

they were renamed the Thunder,

turning legacy into nothing but chattel

— Troy Lasby

"Caretaker" Schultz

"Caretaker" Schultz promised a championship crown

But GM Walker drove the talent pool down

The brass thought the Key drab,

and with no one to pick up the tab.

Howard "care-took" the team straight out of town.

— Mike Mitchell, Edmonds

Clay will pay

There once was a fella named Clay

Whose business was getting his way

He stole a team

Shattered basketball dreams

But one day for the Sonics he'll pay

— Bill R.

Poems

Baker, James, McIlvaine

Used to be a Sonics fan back in the day

I bled green and yellow and didn't miss a play

I suffered with the bad teams, bad trades, bad games

Jim Mcllvaine, Jerome James — how 'bout those names?

I cheered with the good teams when I had the chance

Gary Payton, Ray Ray, the rare playoff dance

But money came knockin' and Schultz sold us out

The Okies were schemin' and now there's no doubt

Out went the team, just as they were getting good

Clay Bennett and Company — you knew they would

I still love the players — Durant and Westbrook

But I can't watch the team that Clay Bennett took

The last laugh is mine, though, when contracts expire

Big money, big markets are what they desire

When Durant leaves and Westbrook is a Laker

We'll send Seattle's best — remember Vin Baker?

— Brandon Milton

Essays

No OKC for NBA fan

I am a 23-year-old who's been a Sonics fan my entire life, and am darn proud of it! In July of 2008, my heart and soul was ripped out , stolen, and stomped on when Mayor Greg Nickels accepted the deal with Clay Bennett, that would allow our Sonics to relocate to OKC.

It makes me sick to my stomach every time I see OKC in highlights or box scores. As much as I despise the little gremlin that calls himself David Stern, I'm not going to let him take away what I grew to love about the history of basketball and the NBA. I've traveled to 18 different cities thus far to attend an NBA games, and plan to see the rest within the next couple years (except OKC). I've watched basketball, live and on television, and I follow it just as much now as I ever did.

However, I have never seen OKC play, not even on television, and I never plan to, including these playoffs. I just try not to acknowledge their existence. The reason I can't stomach their existence is simple, that was OUR team. The team they are playing with is the nucleus of what used to be the Seattle Sonics. I watched my team tread through the depths of the Western Conference for several years, hoping to be rewarded in the draft with a can't-miss superstar, and it came in Kevin Durant.

I thought at the time Durant was going to do for the Sonics what Ken Griffey Jr. did for the Mariners, and make them relevant again on the national scene. I was right about his stardom, only he's in OKC and not in Seattle.

I love basketball and want a team back here in Seattle, but that doesn't mean I can't root like hell for OKC to fail. I want OKC to become the new L.A. Clippers, Montreal Expos, Florida Panthers or Detroit Lions; totally irrelevant in the sports fans' eyes

— Nathan Welker

Can't forget Sonics

I can't seem to find anyone in my world who seems to care or even remember the Sonics anymore. However, I'm an avid Sonics and NBA fan from the 1960s — and was at the Sonics celebration parade in downtown Seattle in the '70s — and can't forget what they brought to this city! I like the idea of a bit of sweet revenge! Go Mavericks! :-)

— Judith Fulmer

Don't forget about Storm

At the time I thought it was a great loss to our city that loves its sports. But some good things have happened since, like the Seahawks have a great coach, and it looks like the Mariners are becoming a team to reckon with, And don't forget Sounders FC.

However, I do think that some of the media and some of the sports fans in Seattle seem to have completely forgotten about the basketball team that has brought us two championships to the city. In case you forgot, it's the Storm. Four women kept that team from going to Oklahoma, And a group of young ladies who play their hearts out every game brought two WNBA titles to the city of Seattle.

— Ray Tolbert

Support what we have

When the Sonics left town I was angry not because I went to a ton of games but because the fans here have always supported the team.

But I recognize a few truths. We are never going to have an NBA team again. They are gone. Rather than hate the Thunder or the NBA I just wrote the whole professional basketball experience out of my life. I enjoy the Storm, college and high-school basketball, the Mariners and Seahawks. I do not listen to radio reports about the NBA, I do not read anything in the newspapers about the NBA. It is gone. I find I am happier because of this attitude and I support fully what is still here.

Why the local media even cover the NBA is a mystery to me. For me, it is a waste of ink and radio/TV signal to discuss it any more.

Support what has stayed and ignore what has gone.

— Gerry Gilbert

Cuban victory cigar

I lived in Seattle when the Pilots left for Milwaukee and the Sonics left for OKC. I also lived in Baltimore during the time Robert Irsay moved the Colts to Indianapolis. Losing the Sonics hurt the most by far. May the Mavericks kick the Thunder's backside, and may Mark Cuban blow victory cigar smoke in Clay Bennett's face.

— Raymond S. Wilson, Bellevue

Accept and find serenity

Acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.

Absolutely nothing happens in this world by mistake. Until I could accept the Oklahoma City Thunder, I could not enjoy basketball. Unless I accept life completely on life's terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the NBA as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

— Todd Caffey

Durant showed loyalty

I am actually rooting for Oklahoma City primarily because of Kevin Durant. Signing a contract extension with the Thunder displayed a quality sorely lacking in today's world — loyalty. He honored the fact that the franchise that drafted him had nurtured him, coached him, and already had paid him a lot of money to play basketball.

The person I most blame for the loss of the Sonics is Howard Schultz. He didn't get what he wanted, so he ignored the loyalty of years of support from Sonics fans and screwed the city of Seattle by selling to Bennett. He had to know that the likely result of selling the Sonics to Bennett's group would be the franchise leaving Seattle, but he did it anyway.

Despite popular opinion, loyalty (see: Edgar Martinez) is still important. Life is not all about money. Matt Hasselbeck, are you listening?

— Russ Wolf

More to blame

I am sick — no wait, amend that to say I am profoundly, overpoweringly sick — of people in this city complaining about the lost franchise. As for the OKC-Dallas series in question, I prefer the Thunder, solely because Kevin Durant is, in my mind, everything a professional athlete should be. He is humble, he is pleasant, and he is completely and entirely a class act.

In truth, this letter has more to do with the "poor me, my team went away" mindset we keep hearing about. And from what I notice, the source of most of this kind of feeling is the media. I hear nothing about it around the proverbial water cooler, and it's my impression that this entire matter is being perpetuated in order to generate news copy.

It was not long ago that the status of the Sonics was in question. We can all remember, if we choose to, that significant apathy toward the team staying or going was extremely common. It had its share of ardent supporters, but it also had plenty of vocal individuals who were not particularly interested in the outcome and just wanted it to end. I think it's logical to assume that sufficient citywide support for the Sonics would have resulted in a way being found to keep the team here. It is convenient to blame people like Bennett and Schultz, and no doubt they deserve plenty. But the largest part of the blame resides right here with all us little people.

— Tom Likai

Apologies to OKC

Dear Oklahoma City,

I would like to apologize for the boorish behavior of my fellow citizens of Seattle. Many up on the Northwest would like to continually trash your city for "stealing" the Seattle Sonics, and the feelings are very misguided.

The previous owner got trashed and then your new owner, then even Washington's governor for not caving to the NBA. I believe the real culprits are the "fans" in Seattle. There really aren't that many though to listen to the local news you'd think there were 5 million of them.

I've gone to many professional sports events in Seattle. The last few Sonics' games that I attended I felt almost alone except for the players, refs, and vendors to keep me company. They didn't need a larger arena since their "small" one was only a third to half full as it was.

Look at the current Mariners' attendance and the stadium is a third full on average. Sure, the year they won 116 games you'd have thought they invented baseball. In the few years before the Seahawks went to the Super Bowl you couldn't watch a televised home game as they rarely sold out. Then a few years later the city gave birth to a drunken 12th man and acted like they had the pedigree of the Packers or Steelers.

Sports are fickle. If Seattle wants a new NBA team or one stolen from another city, fine, but please don't ask for my help to pay for it.

— Tim Gardner, Tacoma

No hate for Thunder

Holding a grudge? Hate the Thunder? These feelings certainly don't describe me!

Holding grudges against the former Sonic team and particularly Nick Collison and Kevin Durant is like harboring resentment against the children left in a bitter divorce. A divorce that should have never come about. The "family" should have shared their feelings, told the truth and placed the "fans" and the legacy of a proud franchise in proper perspective and honor that 41-year marriage!

As a season-ticket holder and the successor of a group that started in 1967, I feel that all those feelings should be directed at Howard Schultz and the wonderful city and state leadership. I wish nothing but success for Nick and Kevin. They should still be here.

— Dana Hanson

Show some guts, Seattle

I am 14 years old, have been a Seattle resident my whole life and I am a huge Seattle sports fan. Watching the Thunder win makes me cringe. I believe the team moving was as much the City of Seattle's fault as it was Clay Bennett's. I know Seattle isn't regarded as your typical "blue-collar" city, I know Seattle doesn't have the East Coast fan mentality when it comes to sports, but it's time this city showed some guts (for lack of a better term). Seattle gave a very feeble effort to try and keep the team. It wasted money gained from the transfer and it was pathetic in any attempt to bring the team back.

I didn't think Seattle could find a worse mayor after Greg Nickels, but they have found one in Michael McGinn.

— Ross Connors

Who needs sports teams?

Good Riddance!

That team was the start of the vanishing of Seattle. Maybe you are not a "native" Washingtonian like I am. Maybe you haven't witnessed the changing of this town into someplace like everyplace else.

Sports teams! Who needs them? What we need are streets repaved, good schools, and most of the people who have moved here in the last 25 years and who do nothing but complain about the weather to just move back to where they came from!

— Gregg Whitcomb

Not so lucky fan

I had been a Sonics fan since 1975. My first favorite Sonic was Tom Burleson. During the summer of 2007, I won a pair of really good season tickets for the Sonics' last season because I had submitted an essay to the team for a contest. I mentioned how emotional I got when I was 10 and the Sonics had been bounced from their very first playoff run in 1975. At the end of my essay, I said that I wanted to feel like that again someday.

I guess Clay Bennett granted my wish, but not exactly in the way I thought he would. Ironically, as it turned out, the contest was called "The Luckiest Fan Contest." The team was horrible (on purpose, I believe) and then they left. I don't recall feeling very lucky then — or now.

— Michael Busick, Bothell

Rooting for Mavs

I would like to see the Thunder defeat the Mavericks and then defeat the Heat for the championship.

I prefer watching Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka rather than LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh of the Heat. I would like the chance to see the Thunder players defeat the overrated Miami millionaires with few positive character traits.

I arrived in the Seattle area just before the Sonics franchise move to Oklahoma City. I don't think anyone should blame the Thunder players or OKC fans. for the team move Both of which I think are having a good time and we should be envious but not spiteful. If a longtime Sonic fan must blame someone for losing the team, start with the local owner, Howard Schultz, who didn't try to sell to locals; local politicos, who cared less; plus Clay Bennett and David Stern, who in concert with the seller felt they had to lie about the rationale for the move when they set the bar too high for an arena in Seattle. All of this adds up to good ol' American greed.

I have lived in a lot of cities — large and small, foreign and domestic — and enjoyed following pro sports no matter where I resided at the moment. I'm still mostly a pro basketball fan who follows teams in other cities such as the Pistons, Wizards/Bullets and Suns. I intend to follow the Thunder because they have a classy bunch of players, an excellent young GM in Sam Presti and sports-starved pro basketball fans who temporarily tasted pro basketball when the New Orleans team played in OKC in the aftermath of the terrible hurricane.

— Gary Stein

Still won't watch NBA

I attended Sonics games, from their first season to their last. I watched home games in the Coliseum, Edmundson Pavilion, Kingdome, Tacoma Dome and KeyArena. I was a full season-ticket holder for their final 15 seasons in Seattle. I sat a few rows from Howard Schultz, who was at least a visible and enthusiastic fan. I never saw Clay Bennett, who was no doubt sequestered in his owner's suite.

I was disgusted by David Stern's attack on our region because we wouldn't pay for a $400 million arena for some OKC billionaires who never really wanted to keep the team in Seattle. That really turned me off to NBA basketball.

As a result, I have not watched a single NBA game on TV since the Sonics left. I doubt that I would support a new NBA franchise in Seattle. My NBA experiences will remain the memories like the brilliance of Lenny Wilkens, Spencer Haywood overpowering an entire team, or a Shawn Kemp "in your face" dunk. Things like a Payton steal or a clutch downtown shot by Freddy Brown or Hersey Hawkins; Jack Sikma's jump shot and Dennis Johnson's defense; The fever of our three NBA Finals. I could go on and on.

I still follow the NBA in The Seattle Times. I haven't forgotten that Mark Cuban was the only owner, besides Paul Allen, to vote against the shameless move of our franchise. I hope the Mavericks win it all and that the future of the OKC franchise is years of red ink.

— Dennis Russell, Edmonds

Root for Durant

Listen, I love the Sonics and when they were taken from the people of Seattle I was extremely upset. I hated Oklahoma City for taking our team. But what I don't understand is why so many sports fans in Seattle want the Thunder to lose to the Mavs. It's still Kevin Durant leading the squad. He's the kid who we brought into the NBA and made a star. We should be cheering against the Mavericks.

I understand the hurt we will all have if the they win the Finals, but its time for us to grow up, look for another team, and move on. We should be happy that they are in the Western Conference finals. I'm tired of holding a grudge against Oklahoma, I have already moved on. I want them to win because Kevin Durant deserves a ring. Even if it's for Oklahoma City.

— Daniel Guido

No fan of OKC fans

I don't think I can stand another commentator remarking what great fans Oklahoma City has. It's not hard for fans to get excited when they live in a city that's never had a major professional sports team before, and within three years, is competing for a championship.

And don't tell me Oklahoma City stood by this team through hard times when they went 23-59 in their first year. Their support that season was not loyalty during rough times. It was a city riding the initial exhilaration of having their first major sports team, coupled with the excitement that, as any casual NBA fan could see, this team of talented youth was likely going to be really good in the near future. OKC fans don't know anything about rough times. Any fan base could be so-called "great fans" in circumstances such as Oklahoma City's.

— Cameron Van Til, Redmond

Take the Mariners

Love the Thunder and hope they go all the way. Any fool knew Bennett would move the team to Oklahoma the first chance he could and more power to him. No one in Seattle seemed to want to stick his neck out to make a deal.

All we can hope for now is that someone from Oklahoma will pay us another visit and take the Mariners off our hands. Notice the dedicated fans are already back to fishing and clam digging.

— Gary Emard

House Kevin Durant built

A philosopher once wrote you need three things to have a good life; a meaningful relationship, a fulfilling job, and an NBA basketball team in your city. Not my view. The good life means exploratory committees, legislative sessions, and tax streams. People see me, they see the Durant jersey, they say, "you're not fooling anyone." They know I'm with Ross Hunter all the way.

Not conventional thinking.

Springtime means calling the state legislature, saying hello to old friends. "Hey Jeanne Kohl-Welles, you sound great, how are the kids? It's been too long, let's go up to the lake this weekend." This is about relationships.

People from Seattle see Kevin Durant playing Dirk Nowitzki. They look upon this like it's the end. I see this as a beginning. Rome wasn't built in a day. That's my motivation.

— Steven Snell

Like a lightning bolt

Danny O'Neil's column ("Thunder Struck," Tuesday) was brutally honest. All that was missing was absolution. It was like a lightning bolt. Now Seattle needs a "hail-Mary" pass. Pass the team back here.

Sports management is not about "show me the money." It's about loyalty to the fans and the community.

Good businessmen (and women) should know that cultural stability is good for business. Selling out is not.

Boycott the game. They'll get the idea.

— Harold Bartko Jr.

A bad sequel

The last game I went to a Sonics game, the Jumbo-Tron caught fire and they had to stop the game for 20 minutes. Watching the Thunder is like watching a never-ending sequel to "Major League" where Rachel Phelps gets to move the team. Who wants to watch that?

— Bruce Leroy

OKC didn't earn a playoff team

First things first. I'm from Portland. I'm a diehard Blazers fan living in the Seattle area. I have always hated what happened to the Sonics. It represents everything that is wrong in sports. Oklahoma City didn't have to endure 5-6 seasons of terrible Sonics teams and then watch a superstar get drafted at the height of them being terrible and watch him grow. Instead Oklahoma City basically got a champion overnight. The city didn't have to deal with a cruddy team and then watch it blossom. You fans in Thunder land ... Ya don't deserve squat.

— Mark

Just cheer for the Mavs

This started with the management that was in place when Schultz took over. They took a perfectly successful team and turned it into has-beens. Then Schultz didn't have the backbone to stick with it. Then Snidley Bennet does his slight of hand and it's all gone.

If it's not in you to root for Okie Dokie City, don't worry you're not alone. And Jason Terry is one of us.

GO Mavs!! Crush 'em like a stale cigarette.

— OldUnser

Blame the government

How can the state government not think that we didn't care about the Sonics? We have been here for over four decades and just because we didn't have a state-of-the-art facility, we have to lose our team? I know the money is a big thing to these owners. But look at the owners now, I believe those billionaires are doin' very well financially. How about the fans? We are furious and hate that the Sonics left. Sure college basketball is fun for 2 weeks during the NCAA tournament but NBA playoffs go on for 2 months. The city of Seattle and the State of Washington would be going crazy for this team right now!

— Nick

The history should be ours

I dont hate the Thunder, they are just another NBA team I dislike.

I hate the fact they took our history, they never won a championship, they never had the glove or the rain man but oh well

GO BLAZERS! I guess

— The skeez

Terry will stop them

Go Mavs! I know our boy Jason Terry won't let the stolen Sonics have a title shot. If OKC goes to the finals, I won't watch 1 second of it.

— duckhatersdaughter

Blame Wally

What really angers me is Wally Walker gave us such a poor product the last decade in Seattle. As much as I despise Clay Bennett he hired an outstanding GM in Sam Presti and it was obvious he knew what he was doing his year here. Sure he was a bit lucky to get Durant, but he has built a really nice roster around KD. We, on the other hand watched, as Wally Walker gave us an endless string of Robert Swifts, Johan Petros, and Muhammed Senes. It was ultimately the total lack of playoff excitement for the fans and playoff income for the team that led to the sale and then the move. That can be directly attributed to Walker's failure as a President and GM. With him running the show there really was no hope.

— Freespeech

Seattle got robbed

Seattle got robbed by Schultz, Clay, and our elected officials. The worst feeling is when I hear mention of SEATTLE SUPERSONIC history mentioned in regards to this joke of a team that benefits from our misery.

— Juan Burley

The game isn't that good anyway

Guys, all of you are missing the point. We, the NBA, have a horrible product. It really just consists of a bunch of guys in sweatbands who play one-on-one and complain to the refs. Rosters in our league turn over so often that no one really cares about the teams. So we market mediocre players and brand new arenas.

It's my plan to shove this horrible product into a lavish building. We don't care how loyal a fan base is, or how many people come to a game. We know we suck, we know our fans hate the product, we know we're the number 4 out of 4 in the major US sports; but our buildings are awesome!

And at the end of the day, basketball isn't about the game of basketball. It's really about fancy buildings, and overhyped/overpaid players bouncing from team to team who don't care about winning.

So come to Oklahoma City, land of ... well something ... and see our crappy brand of basketball played in an awesome tax payer funder building. To hell with the rest of you.

— David Stern (not the real NBA commissioner)

Torn on how to feel

My stance: conflicted.

In May '07, when the Sonics were awarded the second draft pick in the lottery, I immediately grabbed a green sharpie and drew a No. 35 jersey onto a white shirt so I could be the first one representing Durant at school the next day. In Durant, we had the future of basketball playing in our backyard and we embraced him even though our '07-'08 team had little else to brag about. Then the whole city had the proverbial rug yanked from beneath us and next thing we knew the Durantula was a Thunderclap, or Thunderbolt, or whatever the hell you call one individual member of the Thunder.

— Connor Witt

Still cheer for Durant, but can't stand the owners

Durant is still the same player whose handcrafted jersey I wore so proudly just three years ago, how can I be expected to deny his heroics just because I can't stand the guy who cuts his paychecks?

First, Durant and the Zombies should be playing ball in Seattle, but thanks to millionaires and politicians who don't understand the meaning of "public trust" we got screwed.

— shawn5150

N-O-T H-A-P-P-Y

I love Kevin Durant and his boys, but I hate SATAN Bennett ... ahem..I mean ... C-L-A-Y-T-O-N Bennett. I hate David WORM ... I mean ... David S-T-E-R-N. I hate COWARD Schultz ... I mean ... H-O-W-A-R-D Schultz.

I no longer drink S-T-A-R-B-U-C-K-S. Do I watch the "NWA", the Not Worthy Association, I mean ... the N-B-A?

No!

Will the Dallas Mavericks kill the OKC BLUNDER ... I mean ... OKC T-H-U-N-D-E-R? ABSOLUTELY!

Next, and what bugs me the most since they are gone, they have and are using SEATTLE'S statistics. I don't care about "shared history." It is our history! For any relocated team to use statistics from another city is disingenuous. The Zombies should be an expansion franchise.

Affirmed

No longer a fan

The NBA has been dead to me since they took that piece of my heart that belonged to the Sonics since I was 2 years old. I haven't watched an NBA game since they were taken but I can't seem to be able to block it out completely because of the news. I hope they win it all in Oklahoma City, give them something to believe in and then get sold to some town that sucks worse than they do. I'm not sure where that is though.

Benny Ruggiero

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