NBA tossed airball with Sonics move | Taking Stock

Mar 10, 2016

When the Seattle Supersonics were moved to Oklahoma City a lot of people in Seattle thought the owners were crooks.

Now we have more evidence that they really were crooks. Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, was one of the major investors in the Supersonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder). McClendon had just been indicted for attempting to rig oil and gas lease bids in Oklahoma.

However Mr. McClendon won't be facing charges. Less than 24 hours after he was indicted, he was involved in a single-car high-speed fatal accident.

Mr. McClendon had previously been ousted as the CEO of Chesapeake Energy and sued by that company for misuse of company data. That suit was settled out of court last year.

This situation puts the National Basketball Association into a difficult position. A major owner of a franchise has died suspiciously after being named in a federal indictment, and the name of the arena where the Thunder play is Chesapeake Energy Arena. Would the NBA have had a problem like this if the team had stayed in Seattle with Seattle ownership?

Many Seattle people thought poorly of the management of the basketball team, and now those thoughts are being justified in federal court and on the highway. Of course, none of this will bring the Supersonics back. They are Oklahoma City's team now, even if they were really stolen by people of poor ethics.

OKC has a rather successful basketball team, and Seattle has none. A poor indictment of the NBA and its former commissioner, David Stern. At the time, many questioned why the NBA would abandon the 14th largest market in favor of the 45th largest market. So I guess that Aubrey McClendon isn't the only one indicted by this federal process.

Now the question is, when will the NBA acknowledge its faux pas and return a team to Seattle? The Seattle market is certainly one of the most energetic sports areas in the country. Support for the Mariners, Seahawks, and especially the Sounders (which has far and away the largest crowds in attendance for any soccer venue in the country) should show the value of the Seattle market to the NBA.

At the same time, the collapse in oil prices is hurting the OKC area and will certainly cut discretionary spending in many households there.

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.