The gimmicks nearly outnumbered the spectators, but the do-gooders who organized Thursday’s “goodbye party” for the Sonics were optimistic that they got their message through.
Two dozen people showed up for the half-hour noontime event outside City Hall meant to discourage Seattle politicians from meeting demands from the owners of the NBA Sonics and WNBA Storm for a massive renovation of the city-owned KeyArena. The crowd seemed smaller while dwarfed by City Hall on the large Fourth Avenue Plaza.
“We were hoping for more support,” said Tim Harris, director of the homeless advocacy newspaper Real Change. But he said the turnout did match the goal of emulating a goodbye office party “for someone you don’t really give a crap about.”
The city faces more important demands — from the homeless to deteriorating bridges — than public financing of sports arenas for private teams, participants said.
“This was a very hard decision for us,” Harris told the tiny crowd of “bleeding heart Seattleites” in an ironic speech contrasting the needs of the poor and homeless to that of professional athletes, or the “plight of the freakishly tall.”
No policy-makers were there for the farcical trophies, the Wizard of Oz costumes, the giant goodbye card and the farewell cake finale. But more than a dozen reporters and photographers showed up for the “So Long Sonics” banners and props on an overcast, slow news day.
There will be no goodbye party for Scotty Pippen (well, not one I was invited to, anyway). The NY Post’s Andrew Marchand reports that ABC has pulled Mr. Migrane from their NBA studio show. Grant Hill filled in last weekend, but I understand that had the network’s first choice not been playoff-occupied, the assignment was drawn up for Toni Kukoc.