The 17,074 seats of Seattle's KeyArena were sold in just over four hours for the pre-season game between Kings and Warriors. In the front row sat Bill Russell, Lenny Wilkens and Gary Payton and there was also Sue Bird, legend of the Storm. And the spirit of Jack Sikma, Spencer Haywood, Shawn Kemp, Gus Williams, Nate McMillan, Fred Brown, Ray Allen ... the spirit of the Supersonics, the first team of Seattle (1967), the one that was champion in 1979 and the that is still expected as a prodigal son who is taking a long time to return to a city that since April 13, 2008 has been on the porch, with the door open and the look lost in infinity. As if the Sonics were to appear, back, first a blurred image and finally, again, a reality.
On that April day over ten years ago the Sonics played their last official game (99-95 to the Mavericks). The last basket in play was scored by Kevin Durant, who had also played in the last visit of the Warriors to the city (December 2, 2017) until this friendly, the most special of the summer without any doubt, in which KD went out to the presentation with the shirt of Shawn Kemp and between a wonderful ovation, Steve Kerr put another of the Sonics for his press conference and the city showed that, despite ten years of incomprehensible absence, is an NBA city. The KeyArena now enters, with 56 years, in a reform of 700 million dollars that has the eye put in the NHL (should have franchise in December) ... and in the Supersonics. Expansion is not a close option right now. The repositioning of another franchise appears as a possibility at least blurred ... but the feeling is that Seattle will sooner or later recover the Supersonics. It is a matter of memory. Of Justice. And, for the less romantic, also market.
The Sonics gave way to the Thunder, who took the team but left (after a negotiation with Seattle, yes) the colors and the name of the historic franchise that was suspended. Then, 2008, Kevin Durant traveled as Rookie of the Year after his only season with the Sonics jersey. In a delicate irony, today the forward is the number one public enemy in Oklahoma City but it is still, his silhouette suspended in time with the true, white and yellow T-shirt of the Sonics, an idol in Seattle. The last reference, the great link that continues to unite the city with the NBA.
So Seattle allowed himself a night of happiness, memories and sounds of basketball. And he launched, that also counts (and more in these times), a forceful one to those who have to keep in their agenda a repair that will happen: we just have to know when and we hope that sooner rather than later. More than a decade has passed since one of those sins of the marketing and the legal and business logic of American sport, which has enormous strengths but also very dark places.