in this year’s NBA Finals, we are Team LeBron.
We apologize to all Cleveland fans who are still hurting as well as the individual players on the Thunder and their fans, but LeBron being a dick while exercising his free agent rights strikes me as a much, much lesser sin as opposed to David Stern doing absolutely nothing to stop Clay Bennett and Co. from outright lying to Seattle about trying to make it work and then snatching a team with four decades of history and dedicated fans from it.
Yes, I understand Seattle has some responsibility to play in the saga, but Stern played the role of neutral observer there yet several years later invoked the opaque “basketball reasons” to stop the trade of Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Lakers. If there ever had been a “good of the game” or “basketball reasons” to intervene, it was on the shameless and transparent lifting of the Seattle SuperSonics to Oklahoma City. We hear plenty of narrative about the mercenary nature of the Heat’s current construction and how OKC’s management built the team “the right way” — but that right way omits that it was done on the back of a franchise that had its heart ripped out.
(P.S. The real crux of it is that I’m not even that crazy about Seattle. I just think that a city finally saying “No, we will not publicly finance a new arena when there is a perfectly good and functional one there” is worth celebrating and the NBA should learn a lesson about it.)