Try to imagine your favorite professional sports team uprooting the franchise for an entirely different State, City, and then for good measure changing the team colors and nickname that you rocked for years with a pride unlike any other.
Most of us can’t imagine that, right?
But we can sympathize for those who have gone through it, Seattle, is the first team that comes to mind. The city lost the Supersonics after the 2008 season when they booked a one-way ticket to Oklahoma City and changed their name to the Thunder. Despite not having a team to root for the last decade, Seattle, has had the one team who’s been the most fun to root against, if you’re a Seattleite.
The Thunder have made four Western Conference Finals appearances, one NBA Finals appearance, while drafting three NBA MVPs, and one of the three has two NBA Finals MVP awards on his resume. The Thunder are the first franchise in NBA History to draft future MVPs in three consecutive seasons. (Via @ESPNStatsInfo on Twitter). Now that sounds unbearable if you’re a Supersonics fan but Oklahoma City doesn’t have an NBA championship to show for which has allowed Seattle to bask in the glory of every mishap the Thunder have taken in the last ten years.
On Monday night, Seattle was basking again.
James Harden took home his first NBA MVP award at the NBA awards show on TNT, the former Oklahoma City Sixth man of the year, now, Houston Rockets guard who averaged 30.4 points per game and 8.8 assists per game. Oklahoma City traded Harden in 2012 after falling to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in five games. Just a few weeks ago, the Golden State Warriors won their second of back-to-back NBA championships with Kevin Durant taking home a consecutive Finals MVP award, the former NBA MVP of the Oklahoma City Thunder (2013-14 season). Durant left the Thunder in free agency in the summer of 2016 after falling to the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals in seven games, despite leading the series 3-1. This all happening one year after current Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook won his first NBA MVP award while averaging a triple-double for the (2016-2017) season.
The Seattle fans nightmare of an Oklahoma City Thunder Championship celebration came close to happening right in front of their eyes, instead, they’ve gotten to watch one of the great “What If” sports debates unfold with the rest of us. Except they’ve likely enjoyed it more than you, and I, and we can’t blame them for it. Oklahoma City is now stuck in the 90 percentile of the league on the outside looking in at a Warriors dynasty, waiting for its next turn at an NBA title run, a wait that might be long enough to see a return of the Seattle Supersonics, who don’t seem any farther away from a championship than the Thunder do these days.