I see a bad moon risin’. It looks likely that the Oklahoma City Thunder, just three years after breaking both our hearts and a franchise record for losses, will reach the NBA Finals. And you thought Fred Brown selling his 1979 championship ring was depressing.
A win tonight or Sunday puts the Thunder in the Western Conference Finals (which the Sonics last reached in ’96). Theyd face Dallas, who swept their semifinal series–but against a self-destructing Lakers team. If I had to bet, Id say the Zombie Sonics take Dallas down.
While this would represent something of a coup for former Celtic Nate Robinson, whod reach his second consecutive Finals, the rest of us former Sonics fans will face two weeks of hell.
Consider: You wont be able to watch ESPN for five minutes without some Thunder/Durant Finals-related promo. Forget about reading Sports Illustrated and The Sporting News. Or surfing any sports site on the web. And considering how much ink The Seattle Times gave to a high school basketball stars class schedule, imagine what theyll do with this.
We had better consider some coping strategies now.
The first and most obvious coping strategy that occurs to me is this: Dig a cavernous hole. Jump in. Cover it with planks. Sob violently for weeks. Problem is, you’d lose your job. And die of thirst.
Coping strategy two: Maniacal support for whoever the Thunder face. The problem here is that the likely Eastern Conference champion is the Miami Heat. Rooting for the Heat would feel like rooting for a combination of the Yankees, Steelers, and Esther Vergeer.
How about just embracing the Thunder, and rooting for them as hard as you would the Sonics? HEY PUT DOWN THAT WEAPON! IM KIDDING.
Here’s the only thing I can think of to do: Throw the weight of my basketball jones into our one remaining professional basketball team–the defending WNBA champion Seattle Storm, who I’ve followed intermittently since the Sonics’ departure. Happily, I bought Storm season tickets for the first time this year, and am looking forward to their season opener June 4th, which would be smack in the middle of the NBA Finals. (Though, may I respectfully request to the Storm in-game entertainment crew that they refrain from their traditional playing of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck?)
If you aren’t into women’s hoops, I guess the only solution is to just keep doing whatever youve been doing to salve the pain of the Sonics departure. I have a friend who has his wife rip out any section of a newspaper or magazine referring to the Thunder. (She’s gonna be busy.) I know a guy who boycotts Starbucks. If you have a ritual, stick with it.
Heres a marginally comforting thought: If the NBA had stayed in Seattle, theyd be looking at a ratings bonanza from a resurgent team located in the nations 15th-largest metro area, and a wealthy one at that. Instead theyll reap the rewards of their move, getting their highest ratings in Oklahoma City, with a third of the population.
As bad as the Sonics’ move was for us, it’s the NBA that will suffer most in the long run. And with that small consolation, I’m off to find a Lauren Jackson poster.