You don't know me. But I know you. I met your son Jordan at Folklife a few years ago. I was really impressed; Jordan seemed like a thoughtful, casual kid who wasn't preoccupied with being or acting rich. He was cool.
You seemed real cool at the time, too. Nate McMillan was steering the Sonics' ship, Ray Allen wasn't hobbling, Antonio Daniels was playing out of his mind, and we even had Awake Jerome James. And you. You were the owner. The one who sat courtside and rooted lustily without looking like a jackass. A little yuppie, to be sure, but a Seattleite. A real Seattleite, one who would recycle and let his kids go to hip-hop shows and dug the Sonics.
Yeah, you own Starbucks. And it's all evil and corporate and whatnot, but hey, it started here, and you were part of that. You still live here [beach houses in the Hamptons notwithstanding].
I was real cool with you. And then you sold the team. That's fine. That's your business. But you sold it to a guy who radiates evil intentions.
Clayton Bennett has done one good thing in his whole life, and that was sell off the Storm to local owners. I could go on and on about how he's an anti-choice, anti-gay bigot, but the real issue is this:
He was going to move the Sonics to his hometown, Oklahoma City. And you must have known this. You must have. You don't get to be rich by being dumb. The writing was on the wall when one of his consorts mentioned last year how excited they were to move the team. Yeah, they said they would give a good faith effort to keep the team in Seattle, which would only be the biggest U.S. city without an NBA team if or when Bennett and crew skate. That was bullshit.
Now, I can only assume, you've realized something. Not that it was bullshit, because you had to have known that. But that the Sonics mean a lot to the city.
That kids like me have been going to games since I was 4.
That we lived or died with them every game in the mid-90's.
That we're still as rabid as Seattleites get, but it's hard to jive seeing an exciting-though-horrible young team with putting our money in the pockets of Midwestern homophobes.
So you decided to do something about it. To sue to get the team back and keep it here. That's absolutely fantastic, and redeems you a lot in all of our eyes.
But the odds are against you.
David Stern doesn't give a fuck about us. ESPN doesn't give a fuck about us. All around me, my friends are acting like my parents are getting divorced.
But you have a case.
E-mails among the Oklahoma City owners, made public last week, paint a different picture of their intentions. In preparation for a June 16 trial in Seattle's lawsuit, which seeks to hold the owners to the remaining two years of the team's KeyArena lease, lawyers for the city obtained several e-mails in which owners expressed an intent to move to Oklahoma City shortly after the sale.
On Aug. 2, 2006, two weeks after the sale, team co-owners Tom Ward and Aubrey McClendon e-mailed about moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City as soon as possible. The communication was after one of the original Oklahoma partners had dropped out of the ownership group.
"I don't think that you and I really want to own a team there [Seattle] either but we are better partners," Ward wrote.
On April 17 last year, Ward wrote McClendon and Bennett: "Is there any way to move here [Oklahoma City] for next season or are we doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle?"The exchanges detail a breach of contract, Yarmuth said.
You have to sue the shit out of them and get our team back. Please.
We tried, but we're just people. You're a mogul, and all I can really do is write you letters and sign petitions and give you my honest and total support.
Howard Schultz, you're our only hope.