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Follow the Sonics off and on the court with reporters Percy Allen and Jayda Evans.

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April 21, 2008 11:34 AM

David Stern loves KeyArena *Updated 5:22 p.m.*

Posted by Percy Allen

OK, you knew there had to be a catch, right? Well, there is. A reader sent this clip to columinist Steve Kelley and I'm sharing it with everyone here.

There was a time not so long ago when NBA commissioner David Stern raved about KeyArena. When the building re-opened in 1995 after a $74.5 million renovation he called it "a very special" place.

After Friday's Board of Governors meeting, Stern had this to say about KeyArena: "It's the smallest footprint in the league with one of the lowest amounts of suites, the smallest amount of additional amenities and generally is not viewed in its current state as an arena that can support team on a going forward basis."

Also, check out the intrepid sideline reporter.

Here's another videoclip that's making the rounds.

***UPDATED 5:22 P.M.*** This is for Crow. Just did a quick check and I can't find the NBA Constitution anywhere on the Internet, which is not surprising because it's a private industry. And I'm not sure if any other news outlet has reported that the Sonics relocation approval expires after a year.

I did see that the Save Our Sonics website mentions the term limit on the approval.

Basically, here's what happened. The Sonics requested approval for location for the 2008-09, '09-10 and 10-11 seasons f the team is unable to resolve the KeyArena lease litigation this summer. The NBA's counsel told the relocation committee that Article 7 of the NBA Constitution does not permit approval of a relocation application for seasons other than the season following the application (in this case the '08-09 season).

The Board approved the move for next season and if the Sonics renew its application for either of the '09-10 or '10-11 seasons, the Board should approve the renewed application unless there's a major change in the circumstances.

It is interesting to note that the New Orleans Hornets reminded the Board of the Article 7 provision before the owners vote on Friday. No other team made any submissions regarding the Sonics' application.

I know there's a lot of technical phrases in there, but I'm quoting documents given to owners at last week's Board of Governors meeting.

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Posted by 206er

12:59 PM, Apr 21, 2008

it took him 4 years to get sick of the key. by 2000, the key was inadequate in his eyes, and he's never really been forced to explain why. this clip is hilarious, but the situation makes me mad.

Posted by Stan

1:38 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Stern is a two-faced shmuck isn't he? and Howard is suing just to save his coffee shops from being known as the emblem of betrayal among Sonics Fans. I don't think Howard cares and he' smart enough to have known that when he signed the papers for the Sonics, he was signing them off to another part of the country. No successful businessman can be that blind to possibilities and probabilities.

Posted by Crow

1:49 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Percy I accept your reporting on the relocation vote being good for a year effective for move by 2008-9 seaon only based on NBA constitution and would have to be re-voted if the move doesn't happen by then but can you reconfirm it for those uncertain about this? Is the NBA Constitution public anywhere and has any other news source mentioned that pasage / provision?

Posted by Crow

1:51 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Percy I accept your reporting on the relocation vote being good for a year effective for move by 2008-9 seaon only based on NBA constitution and would have to be re-voted if the move doesn't happen by then but can you reconfirm it for those uncertain about this? Is the NBA Constitution public anywhere and has any other news source mentioned that pasage / provision?

Posted by Donald

2:56 PM, Apr 21, 2008

HOLY #### David Stern is such a slimeball!!!!!! This is unreal. He makes me sick whenever I see his face.

Posted by d. stern is a jerk

3:04 PM, Apr 21, 2008

David Stern is such an arrogant, obnoxious moron it defies the imagination. Watching him smugly "answer" questions at that press conference was unreal. His arrogance, lying, and stupidity was just oozing out of his pores.

As for the NBA, I saw screw them. Their league is broken. The economics of the league don't work. It will be going through MAJOR changes in the next 5 - 10 years. Maybe bankruptcy?

I say to hell with the NBA. We look pathetic as a city begging for table scraps. Let their pile of crap league go to Oklahoma City. Then in 5 years, the NBA will be begging US to take them back! Let them come crawling back to us on their knees! And if they don't? Who cares. We don't need them!

C'mon Seattle. We look pathetic. We don't need the NBA. The product stinks. The league is broken. And we've got the Seahawks, the Huskies, the Mariners, world class dining, shows, the ocean, the sound, the mountains, hiking, fishing, a vibrant economy, world class companies, boating, etc. This area rocks without the stinkin' NBA. They need us, we don't need them to be a world class city!

Finally, when does this crap with professional sports teams threatening cities' ever end? If we build them a brand new, state of the art facility for $500 million, they will be back again trying to feed at the public trough in 10 years or so. It's too much. The Key Arena is just fine. If their economic model doesn't work, then that's THEIR problem.

In conclusion, please celebrate the NBA leaving Seattle. It's a crappy league with an arrogant leader (Stern.) Maybe when they have a reality check, and learn some humilty, our city will accept them back. For now, we don't need them in any way shape or form. We have a great city without the NBA. They have a crappy product. Who needs who more?

Posted by Ben

3:37 PM, Apr 21, 2008

I did enjoy that the OKC folks pointed at the lack of ticket sales this year as a valid part of their arguement to move the team... As if that wasn't part of their plan in the first place? Get rid of Ray Allen, Lewis and others - play a team of rookies and still developing players and see what they can do...

It's just like the movie Major League, except the Sonics apparently didn't have a cardboard cutout of Clay Bennet that they could stip pieces off of.

What a bunch of putzes (not JJ).

Posted by Pokenour

4:52 PM, Apr 21, 2008

RE: post


Certainly I understand the feeling all too well, in 1966 it was my fifteenth birthday when my family arrived in Seattle from Virginia. Oddly I had been a Husky fan since the 1961 Rose Bowl when I fell in love with the Malemute mascot, so that I had for years looked to the PNW for my dreams and hopes even as a boy far away. So a month after arriving in Seattle, I was thrilled by the birth announcement of the Supersonics and I have been a fan ever since no matter where my journey in life has taken me. It is allegiances such as these, made in youth which carry you on in life, in some profound way I have always stuck with Seattle, UW and the PNW, so that the Sonics are a cherished part of life history. It would not be the same without them, I was there when Bob Rule ran onto the court and fell on his ear. Many times, my brother and I cheered Lenny Wilkins and is earnest good will as player coach. When Lew Alcinder (Kareem Abdul Jabar) first came to town, outside his UCLA career, my brother and I were there. Among my first serious dates, I took my girlfriend to Sonics games where we cheered and fell in love. In the seventy-eight, when we were cheated out of a championship by a refs call who claimed that Paul Silas stepped in bounds before throwing the ball, my brother and I boo loudly and felt the pain of injustice on the court. In '79, I couldn't be there, as I was away in Montana, but I cheered the Sonics a World Championship, and onward through the Karl lead Payton, Kemp Schrempf teams and even to this day I have given my fan support to the Sonics.

So this lament is mine also, but as time passes, our grandchildren will grow to love an expansion Sonics and the original history as if there were no difference. They will listen to our stories and pass them on to their children and recall the proud heritage of the Seattle Supersonics. It will simply be a break in time but not continuity, because we the fans are the community and the Sonics are ours not some rich corporate mogul. They are ours by virtue of the support and time we have invested into them - by the fact that they represent our city or place of origin as divine place. Such is the cultural and religious significance of being a fan, we take pride in our city, state and region, so that as our sports teams thrive on the court or in the field, we must demand that they reflect our values and the character of our community. There have been professional players who have not always represented Seattle as we would wish, but by and large our fan relationship has shaped many of them and they have remained in the community making wonderful contributions to youth, health and general well being. The are Sonics heros - Wilkins, Watts, Russell ( a Celtic turned Sonic by choice of Seattle), Skima, Brown, Schrempf, Payton, MacMillan and of course many others who have settled into the area raised families there and made a difference among the community. Surely something is lost when this legacy passes, who will "put milk in your baskets" as the Wilkens signs proclaimed with "little" Lenny featured as the wholesome person he is sponsored by the Washington State Dairy Farmers during my youth.

So perhaps Seattle out grew the Sonics, with the Mariners and Seahawks, but I remember the Pilots stolen in the night and although they were not there long enough to break my heart, I was thrilled with the expansion Mariners and proud of the politicians who fought for our team, even though they had to play in the Kingdome with no sunshine and fresh air - no place for baseball. When the it was build, I wrote a college writing essay exploring names for the big gray concrete arena, often I visited it to see the Mariners fail away with their endless early teams, but once when "the Kid" joined the big club, I was there for his first base hit and although absent from Seattle when he asked to be traded, I lamented his lose without demeaning him because he was a hero on and off the field.

My point in all this is that we make or break our community through its collective institutions with their symbolic values. Our heros are born on the court and as we embrace them, so goes our community and they give back with their wining examples of sportsman ship and when they do not, we send the packing - Patterson and others - because with these sports franchises it is more than about winning and losing, it is how you play the game. The NBA has forgotten this lesson as many others have likewise done so, certainly such sportsmanship was not in Clay Bennett's or David Stern's agenda and performance, nor was it in the local politicians who have consistently undervalued and failed to appreciate the contribution of the Sonics to the Seattle community. So what's happening in Seattle is a crime and the perpetrators - Schultz, Bennett, Stern and others - need to be held accountable for their malfeasance, but lets try an keep something alive of that Sonics heritage that you and I have spoken of here today.

Save our Sonics

Posted by Crow

6:56 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Percy thanks very much for the clarification.

Sorry for my repeat posts and e-mail, I wasn't trying to be being pushy, I just didnt see it go thru.

Your detailed reporting on this issue is signficant and appreciated.

Posted by Debbie

7:56 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Percy - Your reporting, this blog, etc., it all wreaks of desperate. You guys are in the classic mid-stages of grief and have not come to acceptance yet.

Let me help you. The Sonics are headed to Oklahoma City. No suit will change that. No wait of one or two years will change that. It is time for Seattle to get what it can in exchange for the early departure.

Posted by Debbie Downer

8:03 PM, Apr 21, 2008

The Fat Lady hasn't even started her tones yet, lit'l Deb, we will see what happens and OKC is not going to get the Sonics.

Posted by Debbie Downer

8:05 PM, Apr 21, 2008

The Fat Lady hasn't even started her tones yet, lit'l Deb, we will see what happens and OKC is not going to get the Sonics.

Posted by Pokenour

9:15 PM, Apr 21, 2008

Surely statements such as this one by David Stern indicate his duplicity - that term which Clay's lawyers through out in their rebuttal of the city's suit over the lease - and they supply evidence of his malfeasance. Stern sleeps with which ever owner has his ear on a given day. Here he was talking the line for the Ackerley group regarding the '95 renovation of the Key, and of course it all praise, but when Schultz bought the team and Walker mismanaged it, there was the cry over the lease and demand for a "phase II" renovation something that Walker seemed to invent in the process. Schultz and Walker convinced little David that the lease was too onerous and that he was loosing is coffee fortune shirt in keeping the Sonics without the second renovation and a more favorable lease. When the city turned poor Howie, he promptly cried to little David who began bad mouthing Seattle. Howie determined to take his profits and run was introduced to Bennett, perhaps by Stern, with the idea of extorting Seattle into building a new arena according to NBA demands. So in four years and a change of ownership, Stern completely switched his position to suit Schultz. Since the city and state balked at another Key Arena renovation, Stern turned to his mafioso strong arm tactics belittling Seattle as if he were a bully who could offer a deal that couldn't be refuse. This was Clay Bennett's "Good Faith Effort" which was crafted by Schultz, backed by Stern and brought to us by Bennett in his hurried awkward for a new arena at the worse intersection in the Seattle area. Clearly Bennett had no interest in building the $500 billion albatrose, because he was never specific on the money his group would put up - the city of Renton was to be on the hook for the land and improvements - while Clay called for the state legislature to magically fund the remainder. So he never committed a thin dime to his "Good Faith Effort" for which he was so "possessed" to preserve basketball in Seattle - his new home away from home while his investor buddies quipped back and forth about immediately having the Sonics playing in OKC. Skunk!

This "Good Faith Effort" smells of that stinking varment when egregiously aroused. All the while Stern, bad mouthed Seattle and threatened to abandon the City forever if it did not roll over and comply with his extortion demands, Such duplicity is worse than the charge Bennett's lawyers have filed in response to the city's suit over the lease. Any blind person should be able to see through this bullying on behalf of Stern's NBA. Where it a mafioso involved in seeking to extort a local business and we had this much insight into the matter, then surely the prosecutor's office would be at work to bring the scoundrels to justice. Why should the city and state be any less the victim of Stern's extortion and deserving of justice for his malfeasance? With this You Tube video, Stern is clearly playing both sides against the middle for the special interest of the NBA.

Once Clay had bought the Sonics with Stern's blessing and agreed to the extortion ploy - "Good Faith Effort" - designed to wring a new basketball palace from the city and state, they were already intended for OKC. Stern would then play the savior and offer an expansion team to replace the stolen Sonics in the new arena. To his mind, the would get what he felt the NBA needed to compete in Seattle, but this is just a rationalization of facts that he inverted following his 1995 comments on the opening of Key Arena.

So we have multiple frauds committed against the city and state by Schultz, Bennett, and Stern. It was in some ways all about the lease, not only does Stern want a new flashy Staples Center arena in Seattle, he wanted a generous lease whereby the city received less than adequate compensation for the Sonics lease. Such behavior is wholly inappropriate and deliberately vile, so as to rob the public coffers for wealthy billionaires to have millionaires play round ball in a city owned palace. Stern says its all about competing, but it is all about leverage and extortion. It will be interesting if the discovery process reveals Bennett's claim to fiscal loses compared to other NBA owners and his "Good Faith Effort" statements lauding Seattle as a fabulous NBA city. Now he must reverse is disingenuous arguments, in order to extract himself from his repeated lies and deceit.

A further matter that ought not to be overlooked is Bennett's dismantling the team for its "final" year in Seattle. In effect, this pathetic performance was crafted so as to make Seattle look like an NBA looser in hosting the Sonics and, if fact, the league's calculated attempt to belittle Seattle as an NBA market. Notice they used the last year of Schultz and his wailing against the lease and the two years of Bennetts ownership to declare a declining trend in Seattle's support of the Sonics. This tactic was "the kettle calling the pot black," a nonsense finding that justified that which Stern and Bennett wanted to hear. The slime is deep in this mess with Schultz, Bennett and Stern up to their necks in it.

Time the Seattle and Washington politicians call these scoundrels on their malfeasance - use some of the tactics that I have suggested to overturn the NBA anti-trust exemption - now that would punish these evil doers and their confederates in the league. Call them before a Senate committee - Stern loves to talk and he will easily blurt out his part in the crime under the right sort of questioning - just drive him over the edge. After overturning the NBA anti-trust exemption, charge Clay and Dave and NBA compatriots with intended extortion and fraud of the public. LIkewise designate the Sonics a city and state cultural - historical property requiring preservation in the Seattle area. If Schultz follows through with his suit, there will be more discovery and Lit'l Deb's rant with the Sonics moving to OKC will be long in coming to the point of never happening. In the meantime, encourage Shinn to apply next year for the OKC market, Bennett and Co. will then have a devalued property on their hands and a big fat financial lose for their trouble. Everyone who wants to punish these scoundrels will be satisfied and we will see what becomes of the NBA.

Pray the politicians find the will to act.

Posted by Gordie

9:22 PM, Apr 21, 2008

And when Howard Schultz was the owner, David Stern was ALL FOR renovating KeyArena. But since his good buddy Clay Bennett became the owner, Stern did an about face because he wants nothing more than for Bennett to get a team in Oklahoma and will say anything to ensure it. That's just the kind of guy that Stern is.

Posted by mickey

1:24 AM, Apr 22, 2008


Well written and well thought out. I agree about the Sonics always being a part of my life. I also took my wife on our first date at the Coliseum. Verses New York with Walt Fraser and Bill Bradley.

You are right about our Grand Children not even knowing about this blip. But I am afraid I will know. Maybe if my Great Grandson wants to take me on my 100th Birthday I will go.

Percy et al.

The OKC paper has a story just posted where in Stern admits that the vote was only for one year. Seems George Shin pointed it out to the BOG. I have a hard time thinking Bennett and Stern weren't aware of the length of the permission long ago.

Instead of being honest they both continued to lie about the vote. They lied about it's permanence and lied about the inevitability. They lied to the politicians in Oklahoma, getting huge tax breaks for Bennett and they lied to politicians here.

Stern is quoted as saying he 'expected' the BOG to honor the vote next year or the year after. Expected is one of his weasel terms for maybe this won't work and I need to cover the NBA's Ass.

According to OKC TV the Mayor is not happy as he claims the PBC Lease took effect the minute the BOG approved the move. He said that Bennett seems to have two leases to deal with and he expected OKC to be paid for their lease. Leaving unsaid that it didn't matter if the Sonics were there or not.

He must be furious that he was hoodwinked like that by his Good Buddy Bennett. The Mayor put his name and reputation on the line and now all he has gotten so far is a series of accusations regarding collusion, a date for a deposition in Seattle and now, perhaps an Empty Arena.

This is going to be really good and can do nothing but strengthen Gordon's hand in the lawsuit.

Will someone please pass the popcorn?

Posted by Mark WS

2:20 PM, Apr 22, 2008

Percy, a question regarding your update and how the application process works. I understand it that Clay applied for OKC and then it was open for 45 days of review, and if no one else challenged it, then he would get it. Shinn apparently tried to step in too late. Will that clock start over again when this current application expires, and whats to keep another owner at that time from trying to move into that market also (except for that stern face from Stern).

Posted by Brent Kroeker

1:33 PM, Apr 24, 2008


Oklahoma City

Posted by OlsonBW

8:05 AM, Apr 25, 2008

"There was a time not so long ago when NBA commissioner David Stern raved about KeyArena. When the building re-opened in 1995 after a $74.5 million renovation he called it "a very special" place."

And it is, UNTIL you need to use the bathroom or you want to buy food. THAT part of Key is the problem. The seating and court themselves - that part is great.

Posted by Lucy Reddick

5:27 PM, May 08, 2008

Apparently he loves the new 200 million dollar Ford Center in OKC a bit more. He should I guess.
Maybe next time we will go to games and pass city initiatives to keep a team here. Too bad it takes a 41 year history breaking and heart wrenching event like this to get our attention.

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