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A year later, and the only thing hot about the Sonics is the smoldering scoreboard

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Published on Wed, Dec 12, 2007
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A year later, and the only thing hot about the Sonics is the smoldering scoreboard

Note: My brother and I headed down to Key Arena last week to take in the Sonics-Warriors game last Sunday. As die-hard Golden State fans, we weren’t especially broken up about the lack of support the hometown five received from the sparse crowd. Five minutes into the first quarter, the Sonics were down by 17 when the Jumbotron literally caught on fire. A tarp was dragged over the court as sparks and flames reigned down, and the scoreboard was lowered to court level so Seattle’s Finest could tend to the embarrassing display. Sonics’ tarheel owner Clayton Bennett is right about one thing: Key Arena blows. With that being said, here’s a look back at a column I wrote last year detailing the effort (or lack thereof) to keep the Sonics in Seattle. -KH

The Seattle Supersonic ownership testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee last week in Olympia. They shared their strategic vision, emphasizing shifting demographics as a catalyst for their mission-critical drive to employ out of the box thinking while outsourcing their plans for a state-of-the-art home to outlying cities like Bellevue or Renton. The Sonics requested $300 million in state dollars, stating that the organization did not have the corporate bandwidth to continue operations in a non-value added locale like Key Arena.

The Sonics were met with rolled eyes in the Legislature.

Big-hitting elected officials accused the roundballers’ requests as examples of blue-sky thinking.

“After a brain-dump with colleagues, I’m cautiously optimistic that an agreement can be reached. However, the Sonics leadership needs to manage their expectations and return to the core-competencies of what they do best: providing an exciting, cutting edge and customer centric entertainment product to the people of Seattle,” said a senior Senator who wished to remain unnamed.

Paints a pretty clear picture, don’t it? Unfortunately, it seems the clichéd business speak that has dominated outposts like financial trade magazines, stock broker golf outings and the Google corporate water cooler has permeated state politics.

After several weeks in Olympia, I’m bleeding from the ears after being attacked by a series of mind-numbing financio-jargon laced public statements and press releases.

It seems that in an effort to remain “on message” (regurgitate staffers’ bullet point presentations), polticians, lobbyists, stakeholders and the media have all but forgotten the art of plain speak.

In an effort to cut through the smoke screen, let’s examine the press release about the Sonics. Here’s an effort at translation.

The Seattle Supersonic ownership testified before the Senate Ways and Means Committee last week in Olympia. They begged for cash, emphasizing their lack of cash as a kick in the pants for their kinda-sorta important, but only in a business sense drive to employ an original idea while hitting the road with their plan for a arena just like the other 29 NBA arenas towards outlying cities like Bellevue or Renton.

The Sonics requested $300 million in state dollars, stating that the organization did not have the freakin’ time to continue operations in a POS locale like Key Arena.

The Sonics were met with rolled eyes (nothing wrong with that phrase, just seeing if you’re still paying attention…) in the Legislature.

Old elected officials ridiculed the roundballer’s requests as examples of stupidity.

“After a night of tossing ‘em back with colleagues, I’m laughing in the face of those who think that an agreement can be reached. However, the Sonics leadership needs to open their eyes and return to the mind-numbingly simple basics of what they do best: providing a fairly boring and frighteningly mediocre entertainment product to the people of Seattle,” said a senior Senator who wished to remain unnamed.

Much better, ain’t it? Wouldn’t be refreshing to hear the second press release as the lead in on the five o’clock news? I wouldn’t hold your breath, though. I just got back from a communications meeting and as the arena debate goes forward, (finally gets started) politicians are preparing for a Sonics’ lobbyist led effort to clear a lot of low-hanging fruit (goals a drunk monkey could accomplish) in an effort to leverage (blackmail) the state into producing a best-of-breed (super expensive) and pro-active (non ownership driven) solution for a largely out-of-pocket turn-key (totally free arena composed entirely of luxury boxes that will open next year) venue.

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