The fellas over at Hardwood Paroxysm were good enough to send me the link to this post from Jon Burkett of Passion and Pride, a fine Philadelphia 76ers blog. I enjoy most of Jon's writing, but he made a huge error by continuing to espouse the theory popularized by ESPN.com's Bill Simmons that the Memphis Grizzlies should be the team that is moving, rather than the Seattle SuperSonics. *Sigh* I try and I try, but at this point, I just cannot be nice about it anymore. The video sums up my feelings on the subject quite succinctly.
You tell 'em Howard Beale!
Here's why the Memphis Grizzlies won't be moving to Seattle anytime soon (once again for the hard of hearing and absent-minded):
1. Iron-clad lease with the city of Memphis for the next decade. Really, this is reason enough, but I'll give you a few more.
2. Strong corporate support, despite lukewarm fan support.
3. New, state-of-the-art arena already in place, rather than still needing one to be built with taxpayers' dollars.
4. Unlike David Stern's apparent apathy towards the fine citizens of Seattle (or is that a reflection of their own apathy???), he is committed to the NBA remaining in Memphis. He wasn't nearly as definitive about the NBA in New Orleans, though.
In fact, let's talk about the New Orleans Hornets a little, shall we? If we're going to bring up a team that Clay Bennett should buy and move to Oklahoma City, why aren't the Hornets -- who have already spent time in OKC -- being mentioned as that team? Why not let Bennett and George Shinn switch franchises, move the Hornets to OKC and keep the Sonics in Seattle? Let's be honest -- the population of New Orleans has dwindled to the point where it is obvious that they cannot support two professional franchises. That's not a judgment of them -- just a cold, hard look at the facts. There are not enough people with disposable income to support two teams. I'm not trying to "rob" the Crescent City of their fantastic team -- as Burkett, Simmons and others are trying to do to Memphians -- just illustrating that there are other, more obvious teams to use as examples when seeking to "fill the void" that the departing Sonics will leave.
That brings up another interesting point. I have yet to visit Seattle, but everyone I know of that has been there has absolutely raved about it. So, I'm quite sure that it is a great city. I do find it curious that over the past 15 years, all three of their major sports franchises have threatened to move, with the Sonics apparently being the first to actually do so. I remember that playoff series between the Mariners and Yankees that "saved" Major League Baseball in the Pacific Northwest. I have seen the stands sway as the raucous crowd cheered on the Super Bowl bound Seahawks. I've seen the Sonics go deep into the playoffs on the backs of Payton, Kemp, Allen and Lewis. If the fans in Seattle really, truly wanted to keep their team, they would have made sure that they did what was necessary to make that a happen -- namely, funded a new arena. I've also seen the attendance numbers for the Sonics over the last few seasons.
That's why Memphis gets thrown in there at the whim of every writer with something to say, you know -- attendance. The Houston Chronicle's Zachary Levine had some interesting things to say about 3 of the 6 teams at the bottom of the attendance rankings:
Competition hurts some NBA teams.That's right Mr. Burkett, he brings up your own Sixers team among those at the bottom of the attendance numbers with competing high-level college teams in close proximity, drawing fans away. How about you worry about the team in your own backyard before you come down South looking to meddle with mine? The Memphis Grizzlies are here to stay.
Of the six teams at the bottom of the NBA pecking order, three play in some of the best college basketball markets in America — an issue the NHL doesn't have to deal with in nearly the same magnitude.
The Pacers average a league-worst 12,179 at an arena within 90 minutes of Indiana University (16,699 per game) and of West Lafayette, Ind., where Purdue draws more than 11,000 per game.
The 76ers compete with five Division I schools within the city limits of Philadelphia and also with suburban Villanova, which sells out every game at a 6,500-seat on-campus facility and averaged 19,928 in its first two games at the Wachovia Center.
And then there are the Memphis Grizzlies, who share a building with the No. 1 Tigers and come up 4,000 short at the turnstiles. And the way they're going this year, maybe that's not the only way they would lose to their co-tenants.