The Seattle Sonics are dead. And I am shuffling like an iPod through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance, and Luke Ridnour. I have bashed Ridnour in print and have bashed him in private. At the press conference following my Sonics trial testimony, I made the cruel joke that Ridnour would be the only Sonic happy to go to Oklahoma City because of his conservative Christianity.
Of course, that's all bullshit. I'm completely wrong. Why would Ridnour want to leave Seattle? He's living out his most precious dream—playing professional basketball—just a few hours' drive away from his hometown of Blaine, Washington. Ridnour's high-school basketball coach was his father, for God's sake, so just think of the immense family pride. How many times over the last few years did Ridnour's father drive to see him play in KeyArena? How many times did Ridnour's high-school buddies show up in large packs to cheer for their boy?
Last summer, I saw Ridnour and his wife riding bikes in Magnuson Park. They are residents of this city. And now they've been uprooted and will live thousands of miles from their families. I don't have anything negative to say about Oklahoma City; I've only enjoyed positive experiences there. But it will never be a prime destination for NBA players. I would bet large sums of money that in 2010 Kevin Durant and Jeff Green will be signing epic deals to play in New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, or Miami. I would bet that come next summer and the many summers after that, we will spot Luke Ridnour and his wife riding bikes in Seattle parks.
I'm sure Ridnour loves Seattle. It's a gorgeous city, but it will shine less brightly without professional basketball.