Sonics History: How's This Gonna Work?

Duff McKagan is the founding bassist of Guns N' Roses and the leader of Seattle's Loaded. His column runs every Thursday on Reverb.

With all the hubbub about the access for the Port of Seattle aside (and thank you KING-5's Chris Daniels for the traffic report this week!), it really does seem possible that we here in Seattle may be getting an NBA team back here within the next five or so years. The Sonics! . . . MAN. That would be REAL sweet.

Investor Chris Hansen seems to be the real deal here, folks, and through all the excitement around the Sacramento Kings drama, Hansen has stayed rather cool, aloof, and nonplussed. He seems to be the right mixture of determination and smarts for what will certainly be a testy process.

With a huge audience getting to see the OKC Thunder play in the larger light of the NBA playoffs these past few weeks, it has become more than painful to see our Sonics' past revealed as OKC's. They have physical possession of our banners and draft picks and even Squatch . . . but what about our history? Were we in Seattle not the ones who suffered and cheered and lived through every Sonic win and loss year in and year out? If we get our Sonics back, whose history do we get to claim as our own?

Personally, I am over being pissed off at Clay Bennett and Howard Schultz. It is time to man up and move on. We know who we are, and we know what happened. Of course we got screwed, but we will pick ourselves up. Seattle was always one of the top NBA cities, and we will be again. No one wants to come off as the "jealous ex-lover" type, and it certainly doesn't fit the tough yet humorous Northwest mindset.

Because I would rather forget, it sort of escapes my memory as to why the Thunder actually got the Sonics' history in their "deal" with Schultz/City of Seattle. It seems it should be a moot point once we get the Sonics back, right? New rules and amendments are always written in pro sports, and this should be one of them: "If a city gets their team with its original name back, they will be able to reclaim said team's history."

Makes all the sense in the world to me, at least. Gary Payton and Shawn Kemp did their magic HERE and in front of US, right? Do people in Oklahoma City even know just how smooth Sam Perkins was? Could they pick Hersey Hawkins out of a crowd? Were they there when Nate McMillan came off the bench late in that game 7 against the Utah Jazz in 1995? Steve Scheffler, anyone? Scheffler!!

What are the Sonics to Seattle without all that history? They won our only major league World Championship (sorry, Storm, no insult meant). The Sonics had all those epic commercials, and Seattle artists wrote fucking songs about them. For a good while there in the late '80s and early '90s, it seemed that the Sonics were Seattle's cultural identity (until of course AIC, Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, etc., came along).

I finally saw the documentary Sonicsgate: Requiem for a Team a few weeks ago. It had the intended effect of getting my blood up. But it also reminded me of the history of the Sonics. It is MY history, and yours as well. Not something that can be bought and sold or hung on some other city's arena rafters. It just shouldn't be.

Godspeed, Chris Hansen. Settle down, Port of Seattle (or otherwise work out your backroom deal). We want our team back, AND we will take our banners and history AND Squatch back!

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