Just a few months after approving a new arena deal, the City of Seattle may be ready to welcome back the National Basketball Association.
The rumour mill is a-buzzin’ with news that the Maloofs, owners of the Sacramento Kings (who reportedly nearly moved the club to Anaheim in 2011, even going as far as registering potential team names) have been in serious talks with Seattle investor Chris Hansen to bring the club up north for 2013-14.
From our perspective we really only care about a few things, if this deal goes down what will the team be called, what will their logo/uniforms look like, and what history will they claim?
They could go one of two directions, a straight revival of the Seattle Supersonics name – which is very likely due to the supposed deal made when the Sonics left for Oklahoma City keeping the name back in Seattle for a future team; or taking the Kings name with them from Sacramento and absorbing their long franchise history.
If they go ahead with the Sonics plan and claim the history of another franchise as their own, this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve seen this; the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets are the most recent example – taking the nickname of their former club but so far nothing else. A similar story in Washington with their various Senators and Nationals baseball teams, the current Nats have been in town since 2005 after spending 36 seasons in Montreal, but they still claim to be established in 1905. Cleveland’s Browns are the most extreme example with the NFL actually re-writing history to make it officially one franchise, despite the original club re-locating to Baltimore in 1996.
I’ve flip-flopped my opinion on whether this is a good practice or not; for a long time I’ve been very against it, the case in Winnipeg two summers ago was that their fans said any name but the Jets wouldn’t feel right; Charlotte is still fighting (and winning) to re-claim the Hornets name that left for New Orleans over a decade ago – I’ll admit to missing seeing the teal and purple in that city.
Perhaps this is the way to go from here on out then, eh? Let’s go ahead and bring back the SuperSonics! As long as the original Sonics history stays in Oklahoma City, I’m all for it. Embrace the long, storied history of the Rochester/Cincinnati Royals and the KC/Omaha/Sacramento Kings, one of the oldest franchises in the NBA deserves to continued to be recognized.