More than one person has asked me this season whether the Seattle Storm have "replaced" the Sonics as the city's basketball sweetheart.
More than one Seattlite has told me that's not the case.
However, in a lengthy essay at the Life and Art of Vern blog, he juxtaposed seemingly contradictory articles on the front page of the Seattle Times - one about the Storm's championship and the other suggesting that KeyArena is "missing its NBA team" - and suggests that when the current tenant goes 21-0, nobody is really missing the tenant that tried to "blackmail" the city.
Vern Tells It Like It Is for September 19th, 2010 | The Life and Art of Vern
We’re so much better focusing our love on an awesome WNBA team than putting up with the abuse of a mediocre NBA one. As I mentioned in my review of WHIP IT the absence of the Sonics also paved the way for Rat City Roller Girls skating in the same arena where Jay-Z plays. That’s another feminist, pro-gay, homegrown, even volunteer run organization with loyal fans and out of control success. No national championships yet, but only by taking the NBA’s leftover stadium did they achieve the attendance record for modern roller derby. Man, it’s so much better without the Sonics.
If nothing else, the piece is entertaining even if you might quibble with some of the facts.
However, the fact that there are still people writing about missing the Sonics, that what Force 10 Hoops did to keep the Storm here and avoid relocation (or folding altogether) was still a topic of discussion at the Storm's championship ceremony, and that there was at least one person with a "Save Our Sonics" sign at the WNBA Finals says that the Storm haven't necessarily erased the memory of the Sonics either.
In more than one way, the fan bases are too different in general to suggest one could ever truly supplant the other - were the situations reversed (Sonics staying and Storm leaving) I have my doubts that Storm fans would ever suggest that Sonics success would ever heal the loss of their team. Even for fans that love basketball, losing a team that was here for 40 years is not going to be erased by the success of a team that just hit a decade, two championships notwithstanding.