Goodbye, Seattle

by August 22, 2008

by Matt Caputo

The only thing worse than traveling across the country for nine hours is sitting in gridlock on the ride to the Hotel. However, we made it to Seattle just fine.

This is now the third time I’ve made the trip up to the Pacific Northwest this summer. Our Video Chief, Matt Sheridan, and I are on the second of two 3BA related treks to this part of the country. We were in Portland when the 3BA started their tour in July and I was back in that area again for the Nike Global Challenge two weeks ago.

Believe it or not, the 3BA is catching on. I’m not just saying this because they’re an advertiser. The reality is almost every person we’ve interacted with here in Seattle knows about the 3BA Tour final tonight at the Key Arena, the former home of the Seattle Supersonics. You can’t fake street credibility.

-After claiming our bags, Sheridan and I checked in with our rental car at the Alamo counter. Through small talk we learned that the counterman, Oleg, was a huge SLAM fan and asked us if we’d heard about the 3BA game at the key arena the next night.

My SLAM-juice-card got me a free vehicle upgrade, but couldn’t get me past the extra fee for being under 25-years-old. However, as the lowly Assistant Editor, I’ll take what I can get. The Chevy Tahoe just looked a lot smoother than the roller-skate sized compact car we’d been previously scheduled for.

-The next morning in a small antique shop in Pike Place Market, the storekeeper heard Matt and I talking about finding the Key Arena and he asked us if we’d heard that there was a “pro 3-on-3 game there tonight.”

-Our saddest encounter was at the former Seattle Sonics/Seattle Strom store. The shop is nearly sold out of anything that says Sonics and what’s left is 50% off. I copped a Kevin Durant Adidas swingman jersey for about $40 and Sheridan got a good deal on some Sonics skull-caps. However, we were really picking through– literally – the last remaining scraps of the Seattle Supersonics organization as we know it. Only a few rubber basketballs and replica items can be found in the sea of Seattle Storm gear that has taken over the shop. By all early accounts, the team has vanished.

While the WNBA’s Seattle Storm franchise will continue operations, many of the relocated team’s extended staff, including those in the now “Storm Team Store,” will lose their jobs. The kid behind the counter told us the 3BA was in town that night and asked us if we’d heard about it.

It’s sad to see the Seattle community, who has a number of really good products in the NBA right now (Brandon Roy, Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson) lose what has always been one of the league’s cooler franchises. It’s wasn’t so long ago that the NBA had a trio of teams in this part of the world (Portland, Seattle, Vancover, B.C.) and now they’re down to just one.

We’re going to try and capture a bit more of the Seattle hoops culture, as well as take in the 3BA game tonight. Still, it’s sad to see the Sonics rapidly disappearing from the city’s sports landscape. Cheering for a team called the “Seahawks” just doesn’t sound half as cool.