Isaiah Thomas and the Washington Huskies christened the newly renamed Alaska Airlines arena with some absolutely beautiful basketball.
But as perfect a way it might have been to "open" a renamed arena, I'm firmly in agreement with SBN Seattle's own Washington State alum Brian Floyd.
Hec Edmundson Pavilion Gets A New Sponsor As Alaska Airlines Buys Naming Rights - The Daily Drip - SB Nation Seattle
Fans, both of Washington and rival schools, know the arena as Hec Ed. It is, in my opinion, one of the best in the country -- from the history, the feel of the arena and everything else that goes a game there. And all that is associated with Hec Ed, not an artificial name bought by a corporation.
Hec Ed is a tradition -- and one that's diluted by trying to force a new name on the fans. I understand having to sell the naming rights in the interest of making quick money in a time where athletic departments need it, but there's no amount of sponsorship will change what the arena is truly known as.
As a Bay Area native, I still refer to place the San Francisco 49ers play as "Candlestick Park" - I never even made an attempt to call it anything else and maintaining Candlestick Point throughout the name changes is simply insufficient.
I don't care how many corporations try to tell me otherwise: the arena my beloved yet beleaguered Golden State Warriors play in is still the Oakland Coliseum (although, I've confessed that "The Oracle" is a cool place for a franchise perpetually playing for a brighter future to play).
And the Giants, well, I'll always call that ballpark "Pac Bell" because that was the original name, I guess. And maybe starting off corporate has something to do with having easily the best ballpark garlic fries in the U.S.
I don't know.
Anyway, the names of these places matter - it's difficult to unhinge the place our favorite sports memories occurred from the events themselves. That goes double for those of us with childhood memories in any one of these places: just being in a place that enormous for the first time to watch a few dudes play sports was something special.
And even a Cougars fan can see that.