Thursday, June 7, 2012

I still hate Howard Schultz

By Kshell

What should have been a great day in Seattle Sports history was ruined due to what Howard Schultz did to the city on July 18th, 2006. On that day Schultz the owner of Starbucks coffee sold the team out to out of state owner Clay Bennett who was from Oklahoma. On that day most Sonics fans became scared as we knew our team was in serious danger of moving. The team eventually moved after the 2007-08 season due to mayor Greg Nickels selling out the team and releasing the Seattle Supersonics of their two year lease agreement. Now most in this city have a ton of hate towards this situation I feel like Howard Schultz who receives a ton of hate doesn't earn even more. This man not only robbed me of my team that I grew up with but he robbed us all of the experience to witness one of  the NBA's all-time greats when it is all said and done in Kevin Durant. Howard Schultz was supposed to be on our side as was Greg Nickels and yet both failed us. This is why I'll never vote for Nickels and will never spend one penny at Starbucks!

Howard Schultz often used the phrase "civic duty" yet when it came to the hometown team he stabbed them in the back for more money.  Schultz bought the team from long time owner Barry Ackerly in 2001 as Ackerly sold to Schultz due to being an in state owner despite someone else bidding more. Schultz then ran the franchise into the ground and alienating his fan base by trading away Gary Payton. With poor drafting and bad free agent signings the Sonics were a complete mess under Schultz watch. In 2004-05 the Sonics came out of nowhere to win the first ever Northwest Division title going 52-30. Schultz was there courtside acting like a fan. Acting like the type of owner you want. That offseason he would let Nate McMillan walk down the road to coach the Portland Trail Blazers. Schultz once again went cheap instead of hiring a real head coach he promoted long time assistent Bob Weiss. After the Sonics failed that year he sold the team that offseason to Oklahoma businessman Clay Bennett. Steve Balmer and others in this area were willing to buy the team but Schultz never officially put the team on sale. Instead sold to Bennett who way overpaid. Schultz when all said and done made over 150 million dollars in profit by selling this team.

I remember in my college years at Central Washington University trying to ignore reality of the situation. There was no way the NBA was going to let some new owner just move the team away who had 40 years of history including an NBA title. There was no way our city was going to let Bennett out of his lease that ran through the 2010 season. The Sonics under Bennett that first year continued to struggled then that offseason he decided to blow the team up. Most thought he was doing that on purpose but I actually liked that decision. The Sonics landed Kevin Durant with the #2 pick and traded franchise star Ray Allen for Jeff Green. The Sonics last year in Seattle would lose over 60 games for the first time in franchise history. The Sonics in that 2008 draft would select Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka. Already I was worried because at the draft both players were chosen by the "Sonics" there was no mention of Seattle. All the national media guys were saying the team was gone and recently at this time Schultz stepped forward claiming he was going to sue Bennett for lying to him about having a "good faith" to keep the team. I was thinking right on Schultz maybe you aren't this bad guy after all! Schultz I figured knew people hated him and wanted to right his wrong.

Come to find out it was all for show by Schultz. A week after the draft then mayor Greg Nickels sold the team out and realeased the Sonics of their two year lease. Immediately after that Schultz dropped his lawsuit and the nightmare scenario had become reality. I was so upset as I knew Kevin Durant was going to become a star. I also knew that first year they would struggle and receive another high draft pick which they did in James Harden. Seattle fans put in the hard work with this franchise which didn't give us many memories from 1998-2008. Now Oklahoma City in just their fourth season is going to the NBA Finals meanwhile here in Seattle we are just hoping that someday we can have a team. Clay Bennett and David Stern aren't high on my list at all and I hate them. I really hate Greg Nickels and Howard Schultz the most. Those guys were supposed to be on our team yet they stabbed us in the back for more money. Money that none of us fans are ever going to see.

I'm so angered when I drive by a starbucks in Seattle and see the place is full. I'm so angered that so many in this area still refer to OKC as their team. How can you claim them as us when they were stolen from us?!! I like Kevin Durant but I hate their owner, hate that city, and hate their fan base that is consistently rubbing our noses in the fact our team was stolen. I was disgusted when this state had a starbucks day to honor Schultz just shows the politicians didn't care then or care now about the Sonics franchise. Last night we should have been celebrating our first trip to the NBA Finals in 16 years instead we are left with sadness, anger and just flat out depression. For this feeling I'll never forgive Howard Schultz who destroyed a city and made a profit. A guy who most of this state doesn't hate for some reason. I'm not a hateful person at all but I truly hate Howard Schultz and can't stand the way people have easily forgotten what he did to our city.

If you want to learn more about the Sonics situation feel free to watch Sonicsgate the movie as you'll learn a lot about what exactly had happened to us during that terrible time.

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