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Best Seat in the House

Photography, sports and life as seen through the lens of Seattle Times photographer Rod Mar.

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July 3, 2008 12:55 PM

Sonics: The Final Shot.

Posted by Rod Mar

So, Seattle has lost its pro basketball franchise.

Ironcially, Seattle's WNBA team is using "The Perfect Storm" as their marketing theme this season.

What happened to the Sonics was a perfect storm.

Rich-guy bizillionaire tired of losing money and disappointed his NBA stars didn't act like his baristas? Check.

Another rich-guy bizillionaire looking to pump up his ego and wallet by moving a team to his hometown? Check.

Caught-with-their-pants down politicians trying to spin their apathy only to do too little, too late? Check.

Fans who didn't think they'd actually lose the team? A team of players so poorly put together there was no way they'd succeed on the court? A long history of ignorning a problem arena?

Check, check and check.

And so they go, shoes, basketballs and jockstraps making the covered wagon journey to Oklahoma.

When I covered their final home game of last season, I brainstormed for days, trying to envision all the images I'd need not only for that next day's coverage, but on down the line as the lawsuits, trials and dealings continued over the summer.

I wrote about that night and all the images I'd made, planned and unplanned.

I was nearly the last one to leave the media workroom, and took one last look out at the arena just to make sure I hadn't missed anything.

Lo and behold, workers were already dismantling the basketball floor, so I raced back and grabbed a camera and made some frames. I had to wait awhile for the court to get taken apart just enough to tell a future story.

I didn't file it into our photo system, not wanting it to run as a companion to a story about the trial, the lawsuits, or anything else unless the team was gone for sure.

When I heard the news about the settlement between the city and the new ownership group, I immediately contacted the office and told them to look in the DVD from April 13, 2008, Sonics vs. Dallas.

I explained to my editor what I had shot and said it might be a pretty storytelling image.

I didn't hear back, but when I saw the newspaper this morning, I was glad I'd shot the image, because it fit our coverage and told the story about the end of a basketball franchise after four decades.

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