Why We Are Fans

I haven’t written anything since LeBron James saved my soul by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder back in mid June. Nothing. I got halfway through an NBA Draft Review before reading Bill Simmons’ take on the same thing, realized mine sucked in comparison, and then scrapped it. Since that moment I have watched the entire first season of Workaholics 2.8 times, a miserable amount of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and put a fruit snack into a rotating fan and laughed like a four year old at it when it got smacked around the cage of the fan. The summer of snapchat has been fun to me, but I stopped writing when I shouldn’t have. For that reason, this article is about the roots of why if you’re reading this, you love sports, and if you love sports, why you love sports, because I love sports. We like sportz.

This is the kind of tomfoolery that kept me out of the game

If you missed me, I apologize. I let the 14 regular followers of this blog down. You probably didn’t though as I tend to inflate my own importance. But my obligation to write is not to the faithful 14, it is to myself.

My first sports memory is going to the Kingdome with my parents and my godparents for a Mariners game. I was afraid of the Mariner Moose (I just don’t trust the guy), and so my godfather took me up to the very last row of the stadium so the Moose wouldn’t come up there, and from that moment on I could watch the game in peace. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to like baseball when you aren’t living in constant fear of a seven foot tall woodland monster with crazy eyes. Baseball became from that point on not my favorite sport by any stretch, but a crutch. There’s nothing on TV at 8:30PM in mid-July, you know what, I’ll watch the M’s lose 4-1. I’ve never expected anything from my baseball team, I don’t really enjoy watching other teams play. I don’t get stoked for Sunday Night Baseball. But I always have the Mariners in my back pocket. They are terrible now, but I can make fun of them whenever I want while they are terrible, I can make Justin Smoak jokes (Smoaks), but when they get good in the 22nd century I will be one happy guy.

You are looking into the eyes of a menace

That’s what being a fan is. I’ve paid my dues. I have seen so much bad baseball, through my mullet phase, my lesbian Tim Lincecum phase, through my semi normal cut I have now that I am endowed with the ability to ride the Mariners train whenever I please. I feel bad for a fan base that has never experienced a dreadful era of baseball, or of any sport. Having a laughable sports team is something that I have based my entire life on. My dad taught me Take Me Out to the Ballgame with the addendum, “So root, root, root for the Mariners / If they don’t win it’s the same!” That is the only thing I know. The extension of this argument goes over to a section of sports that I care about more than anything.

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There the Whole Time

Shortly before Game 1 of the NBA Finals, I attempted to write a “Woe is Me” article about how disgusted I was that the Thunder were this close to winning an NBA Championship that should have been Seattle’s. It was full of personal accounts of my genuine disgust of their success. The prime example being how I almost beheaded someone who claimed I should be rooting for the Thunder for “Western Conference Pride”. I counted on the Spurs to beat them. For me. I became enamored with the Spurs roster of veteran swingmen coming together to teach the young folks a lesson. And with San Antonio up 2-0, I was loving it. I was writing about how they were the Sonics, playing like an unlockable team in an NBA2K game against the Thunder. Then, for the next four games, my hope for the bullet that would kill the Thunder’s hopes of getting a championship that should be ours wilted. I fell asleep writing that article.

I woke up with the intention of finishing it, getting it off before Game 1 of the Finals to show how mentally unstable I was in the face of a Thunder Championship. It didn’t get done. And I’m glad it didn’t, because a week and a half later I came out with a new perspective on basketball.

I watched Game 1 in a bowling alley in Oxford, Ohio on the “fun night” of a five day Leadership Academy. That is the equivalent of having someone ask you what your favorite Nickelback song is. I bowled a gentleman’s 71, then retired on top like Barry Sanders did to sit in the greasy chairs of the bowling alley to watch the game. Sitting amongst 80 guys who had no capability of understanding how the guy from Seattle wanted Miami to win so badly, I was a pariah. Every LeBron bucket got a, “%#@& YEAH!” from yours truly and a bunch of judgments that I had the worst case of undiagnosed Tourette’s in the history of mankind from just about everyone else. A thunderous James jam evoked a dickhead fan reaction in me that even I was surprised by. The Heat became the same team the Spurs did, and at that moment I put all my faith in LeBron James to stop the Thunder. He was my Lee Harvey Oswald to the Thunder’s JFK. But, as the Heat became increasingly out of Game 1, my visible sickness increased. I couldn’t hang. Not only was I watching the Thunder get closer to what should have been mine, Seattle’s, something that would have upset me in my own living room; I was watching 85 people my age loving it. And why not, the Thunder are everything the casual NBA fan would love. Unassuming superstars, no player that would ever or has ever had a “Decision” with a taste-the-rainbow supply of Vitamin Water behind him like LeBron did, and an all around likeable team.

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Isaiah Thomas Snubbed from NBA All-Rookie Team

If you had told me the day after that Isaiah Thomas got drafted 60th (and last) in the 2011 NBA Draft that I would be writing a rant-article about him not making the NBA All-Rookie 1st team, I would have looked you square in the eyes, taken out my loaded 9 millimeter, and hit you in the face with it.

Hyperbole aside, that’s the situation we are facing. Thomas finished 10th in overall voting, which is odd because by my count there are only 3, at most 4 rookies who outplayed him. So read on as the rest of this article scorns the few rookies unfortunate enough to have beaten Thomas on the All-Rookie team voting. ESPN’s “The Brady Six” style.

The NBA’s Rookie Of the Year (and winner of funniest youtube video amongst rookies), Kyrie Irving had a great season and far and away deserves his spot on the first team. Adrian Brody Ricky Rubio finished second in voting, and for how adorable and awesome he made the Wolves look until he tore his ACL he certainly deserves it as well. I’ll have Boobie Miles sum up Rubio’s game. Boobie, how does Ricky play?

And he can pass!

Too bad Kobe treated Rubio’s knee like he probably treated Steve Blake after every Laker’s loss this season and we only got half a season out of him.

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Getting Closer to NBA in Seattle

May 16, 2012 marked a new rung on the ladder towards getting the NBA back in Seattle. The dilemma that doomed the Sonics’ hopes of staying in Seattle back in 2008 was the idea that KeyArena was not a suitable arena for an NBA franchise, and unless a plan for a new arena was put in place, Satan Clay Bennett was going to move the team to Oklahoma City. Fast forward to today, where the Oklahoma City Thunder have a Conference Semifinal game against the Lake show tonight, and there is no NBA team in Seattle. But today, undeniable progress was made.

The San Francisco area hedge-fund owner, Chris Hansen, has led the charge since announcing earlier this year his intention to build an arena in Seattle’s SODO region for an NBA and NHL team contingent on government funding. Hansen might as well be at the staff meetings for when the Avengers meet up because the guy is an absolute stud. Today however, he came out to say that he and his group, the City of Seattle, and King County have come to a MoU. MoU is short for Memorandum of Understanding, and is also short for awesome news.

The MoU basically states the following

  • If a professional basketball and/or hockey team were to be purchased, the $490 million dollar proposed arena would be built
  • Public cost would decrease significantly if only an NBA team were acquired (previously both NBA and NHL franchises were required to start building)
  • $290 million of private funding to build the arena (remaining $200 million comes from the city/county investment)
  • The arena would hold 18,500 raving lunatic Sonics fans
  • The ownership group has full intentions of re-acquiring the name, colors, records, and history of the Seattle SuperSonics from the Oklahoma City Thunder

The fact that the last bullet is a necessity is a sad truth. The failure of the city to keep the Sonics four years ago has forced this much effort to be undertaken to get it all back. The reason that this picture exists:

This graphic makes sense because the Thunder averaged approximately zero wins a year from 1979-2008

But that is neither here nor there, as the current proposal is the best bet the city has to bring the NBA back to Seattle.

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My Two Cents on Tony Wroten’s Decision

I preface everything I am about to say about Tony Wroten’s decision to enter the NBA draft in June with the idea that I have no idea what his personal situation is financially, and I absolutely cannot enter the mind of a 19 year old basketball player. That being said, Tony Wroten made what is unmistakably a terrible choice yesterday.

Wroten after missing four free throws in the final 18 seconds in the opening game of the Pac-12 tournament against Oregon State.

The above picture is Tony Wroten’s legacy at UW, whether he likes it or not. A season that was filled with plenty of highs, the mercurial freshman point guard’s biggest flaw in his game proved to be fatal for the Huskies. The Huskies lost 86-84 in the opening round of the Pac-12 tournament, a game that Wroten for all intents and purposes dominated. He scored 29 points on 10-19 shooting, had seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal. But unfortunately the game was in his hands at crunch time and he lost the game at the foul line. He shot 9-15 at the stripe on the day but going 0-4 when it counted. He then followed that up by shooting a combined 14-41 in the NIT. Not that it matters because the NIT is about as competitive as WSU’s admissions process. Boom. From a standpoint of his legacy at UW, Tony Wroten ended it about as poorly as you possibly could. People asked me what my thoughts were on whether Terrence Ross and Tony Wroten would leave for the NBA. I consistently said that I thought Ross was gone, but Wroten had no choice but to stay after how his season ended. Not only from a team standpoint but from his own skill set being utterly exposed. He can’t shoot. And this is coming from a guy that would probably have trouble putting Dick Cheney away in a three point contest. But aside from basketball, my perception of Wroten staying in school at least another year comes from another source.

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The Debut of the Top 11: All-Time NBA Jerseys

This is the beginning of a beautiful thing. Not beautiful in the classic, Jennifer Anniston sense, but more beautiful in the “Ambiguous sports rankings with considerable bias” sense. My goal for Top 11 is for it to be a reoccurring feature on Seattle Sports & Otherwise, in where I pick a particular category and then rank my personal Top 11 of that category. I chose 11 because I couldn’t pick ten. And it stuck. This particular edition will focus on something very near and dear to my heart, the aesthetics of the NBA. I am a strong proponent of the “Look good, play good” mantra. And I can prove its merit. You will never see the Bobcats win a championship (or ten games this season) when they roll out in these. And yes I do mean players that look like Adam Morrison, who has fully embraced his role of looking like a 1970’s bar owner on the Lakers bench. But no more extraneous introduction is necessary, as the launch of the Top 11 is underway.

11. Early 90’s New Jersey Nets

sellcheapjersey.com folks

This choice is one that may be what some would call, ridiculous. However, the fact is that the early 1990’s New Jersey Nets had a very classic jersey, and also happened to have my all-time favorite player, Drazen Petrovic on that same team. I will admit my obsession with Petrovic is recent, stemming from watching the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary on him and Vlade Divac called “Once Brothers”, but also for the fact that Petrovic had an absolutely absurd season in 1991. He averaged 20.6 points a game, while averaging .508 from the field, .444 from the three point line, and .808 from the free throw line, with a positive assist/turnover ratio. You will never see those stats again from anyone not named Kevin Durant or Lebron James and probably not even them. Petrovic was one of the best pure scorers the league has seen, and I happen to “own” his jersey. The reason for the quotations is the fact that I have not received the shipment of the jersey from the borderline illegal Chinese jersey site I got it from. But as for the actual aesthetics of the jersey, they belong on this list trust me. The red, white, and blue card is played perfectly (which I appreciate), and the sleeve striping is classic and represents the simplicity I miss in most NBA uniforms. Solid jersey, legendary player. RIP Drazen.

10. Mid-to-late 1990’s Toronto Raptors

The Classic Jurassics

The definition of a novelty jersey, but one that captures the swag of the early years of Vince Carter perfectly. Carter only wore these for one season, his ’98-’99 NBA Rookie of the Year campaign, but my god he made them look cool. Granted, this was my favorite team as a young tyke for the reason that there was a dinosaur on the logo and I watched Jurassic Park 8 times a day and walked around like a T-Rex in my underwear.But that doesn’t have anything to do with the niceness of these jerseys. Both the purple and the white versions exude greatness, with the lightning pinstripes and bizarre logo and number placement supplementing the idea that there is a velociraptor dribbling a basketball on the jersey. That is ballsy, and gives a big middle finger to unoriginal jerseys of the previous era. The 90’s were some crazy times folks and these jerseys capture that idea better than any.

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If a Three Falls in the Forest

We’ve found ourselves a posting mercenary here at Seattle S&O as the lovely and talented master beard-grower himself, Sean Carr of “Carr Talk” has given us another guest post. This post is about the NBA Lockout and the finances behind it. The NBA is a point of apathy in many people’s eyes around here, but the inner workings of this lockout are more than interesting. Carr is somewhat of a financial specialist and has a knack for breaking down some of this type of stuff that neither Stanton or I are well versed in. This is also my personal impetus for an article detailing the departure of the Seattle Supersonics, and explaining the cultural and personal impact the departure has created. So without further ado…

“This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.”
-T.S. Eliot

Last week, nearly $5 billion disappeared from the recession-riddled economy, and there were no emergency meetings, congressional hearings, or half-hearted riots on the street (see post #3 on Occupy Wall Street). In case you hadn’t heard, negotiations attempting to resolve the NBA lockout recently disintegrated, with one side (the players union) deciding to disband and pursue a class action lawsuit. While the T.S. Eliot quote may be overly dramatic, the lights of the NBA world certainly went out with a whimper, the whimper being the cries of those who saw the damage this failure to negotiate will do. Even if you don’t miss the NBA for its entertainment purposes, you could still appreciate its value to the economy. If you have no interest in the economy either, then all I have for you are a couple of amazing videos (here and here; there could be a whole post on the potential outcomes of swimming while covered in NeverWet) to try and pique some sort of interest.

The NBA lockout is the period of renegotiation of an expired Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the players and the owners of the league. This may sound familiar to more aware readers, because there was a similar lockout over a CBA before the beginning of this year’s NFL season. The NFL bargaining agreement was sorted out in time, however, and the only consequences were missed practice time and a shortened free agency period, all of the games have been played on schedule. This is because the NFL deal, while over the same legal issue, was a completely different argument. Now the most popular sports league in the world, the NFL, is a cash monster. It has become a $9 billion dollar industry where everyone involved is making money. There were too large of profit margins on either side of the table for the risk of a missed season to ever be a reasonable worry. The NBA, on the other hand, has been struggling financially for years. Paying out huge contracts to players (Michael Finley made 20 million dollars in 2008, averaging 8 points a game), the owners claim that 22 of the 30 NBA teams are losing money at the rate of nearly 370 million dollars for year. The hilarious coincidence with this devastation is that the NBA has the highest average salary for players of any sports league in America, averaging nearly 5 million dollars a year to play basketball for six months, working roughly one of every three nights during that duration. The owners could not give into the players until they reached a deal that would help them balance their cash flow and stop losing money, the lockout was a considerable option for them. The players, on the other hand, make boatloads of money, and have short careers, and the Players Union for the NBA failing to reach some sort of deal has cost them a season, with a ripple effect that will cause much greater damage than a lack of good basketball to watch on Tuesday night.

Michael Finley just wants his money

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