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Tip-Off Timer: After 41 Years, Sonics Leave Seattle for Oklahoma

Sep 16, 2009 – 10:00 AM
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Tom Ziller

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Tip-Off Timer counts down the days until the first game of the 2009-10 season. On Wednesday, there are 41 days remaining.


When Clay Bennett trucked his Sonics off to Oklahoma City in the summer of 2008, it was unprecedented. That an NBA team moved wasn't new -- that happens, unfortunately. But no team had ever left behind such a legacy. The Sonics left after 41 years in Seattle.

The Warriors left Philadelphia after 16 seasons. The Royals left Rochester after 15 seasons. The Hornets were in Charlotte for 14 years, and the Nationals were in Syracuse the amount of time. Surely, fans hurt seeing those teams leave. I can't imagine what it felt like for life-long Seattle fans, who supported the time at KeyArena (though not at the ballot box, where several public-funding proposals were shot down).

Clearly, it still stings. Seattle native Spencer Hawes has remained outspoken -- often through high fashion. Gary Payton vows to do everything he can to help bring the NBA back to the Emerald City. Local filmmaker Jason Reid is preparing to release a documentary titled Sonicsgate on the fishy circumstances surrounding Bennett's purchase of the franchise. (The doc will be released on the web for free on Oct. 12.)

If the NBA eventually does return to Seattle, the new or relocated franchise will be able to adopt the Sonics moniker. At this point, though, that seems like a small consolation.
Filed under: Sports

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