Sonics Leave “High-Tech Shining City of the Future;” How Will Innovation Fare?

7/3/08Follow @gthuang

It is a gloomy day in Seattle. First real rain in weeks, eerie echoes of thunder in the air—the city is in mourning. Yesterday, the Seattle Supersonics’ deal went down, with the NBA team set to leave town for Oklahoma next season. I had thought when I moved here that I’d get to enjoy at least one full season of the Sonics. I was wrong.

The Seattle Times has a moving editorial today, which begins, “Seattle sports fans can only feel despair as the high-tech shining city of the future loses its 40-year basketball franchise and a ton of civic pride to a group of dishonest brokers from Oklahoma City.” The article serves as an appropriate bookend to the way I first heard about the situation back in February, from Bill Simmons at ESPN (who will always be the Boston Sports Guy).

The emotional response from fans says a lot about the city. We’ll see if Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, a basketball fanatic, can help bring another Sonics team here (Seattle gets to keep the team name).

It’s impossible to measure, but as my colleague Luke points out, how many techies, entrepreneurs, and VCs have bonded over the years while catching Sonics games, and formed relationships that led to new ideas and ventures? We all know that innovation thrives in a well-connected community, and the community has now lost one of its key gathering points.

Sometimes it isn’t just about the money.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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  • Mr Punch

    The Sonics (formerly, or formally, Supersonics) were named after an airliner that was never built. Why keep the name? Even the Vistas would be better!

  • billyj

    This whole thing blows. Short sighted people, former owner, and fair weather fans are the culprit. But the funny thing is maybe the whole thing is meant to be, and out of change will create
    some fresh solutions and perspectives on what hoops
    can be in seattle long term, and its real economic value. I think Apollo Creed says it best. http://www.changeisbeautiful.net