Friday night's contest between the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Devil Rays will have a greenish tint to it. Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp and George Karl will be in town as both the Mariners and the city of Seattle are set to pay tribute to a litany of Seattle SuperSonics legends. Tickets can be purchased here, and here's a snippet from the press release:
The hands of time will move backwards for one night as fans will get to listen to Kevin Calabro, "The Voice of the Sonics," introduce Seattle's former hardwood heroes. Players from every era will be in attendance, including: Freddie Brown, Michael Cage, Tom Chambers, James Donaldson, Dale Ellis, Hersey Hawkins, Spencer Haywood, George Karl, Shawn Kemp, Nate McMillan, Gary Payton, Detlef Schrempf, Jack Sikma, Slick Watts, Gus Williams and Lenny Wilkens.
"The Sonics fan community is thrilled that the Mariners have planned this amazing event to celebrate our region's rich basketball history," said "Sonicsgate" documentary director Jason Reid. "We would never miss this opportunity to witness the largest ever gathering of Sonics legends in one place. Momentum is at an all time high in the movement to bring back our Seattle SuperSonics!"
I suppose Jason is right about momentum being at an all-time high to return a team to Seattle, but from where? I just don't get where this stuff is coming from.
The NBA has locked out its players, claiming massive losses and a wide gulf between the haves and have-nots, in spite of a "have-not" from San Antonio essentially working as the most consistently great franchise of the time between the 1998 lockout and this one, and a "have" from New York acting as the league's most consistent go-to punchline. But revenues are at an all-time high, and if the owners could get their act together on a better revenue-sharing model, things should continue apace.
So who goes to Seattle? Memphis, a team that made it to the second round this year while playing under a rabid fan base in a new arena? Sacramento, a team that has been flirting with leaving the area for years but has shown absolutely no interest in Seattle? Charlotte, a team that was put together to make up for a once-proud organization leaving Charlotte, and also a squad that is working with a new arena?
The only hope Seattle would seem to have would be the New Orleans Hornets, a team the NBA currently owns and runs as it tries to find a new owner. But what would be the difference should the Hornets move to Seattle, and play at ancient Key Arena. Seattle needs an NBA-ready arena, but right now there's no current movement in place to build one. Most of us always thought moving the Hornets to New Orleans was a dicey move even before Hurricane Katrina devastated the area in 2005; but the team would be at best making a lateral move should it move to Key Arena.
This is where the Sonicsgate creators have stepped in:
The creators of "Sonicsgate" are encouraging fans to make their voices heard by filling out a new online survey form at www.arenasolution.org that asks how many NBA and NHL games they would attend in a new multipurpose arena. The results will be used to demonstrate the viability of an arena facility to local politicians and potential team ownership.
This shouldn't preclude Seattle -- and, really, NBA fans -- from hoping for an NBA return to a city that deserves a team and didn't deserve the duplicity and outright lies the current owners of the Oklahoma City Thunder tossed in their faces during the team's last two years in Seattle.
And it certainly shouldn't preclude Seattle fans from attending Friday's Mariners game en masse to cheer on their SuperSonics.
(Photo credit: Getty Images)