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Bye bye les Sonics

Seattle Supersonics Les fans des Sonics sont déçus (Reuters)

 

Après 40 ans d’existence, les Sonics de Seattle disparaissent. Kevin Durant et ses partenaires déménagent à Oklahoma City dès cet été.

par Guillaume Loisy, le 03-07-2008

 

Business is business

La Key Arena va sonner bien creux cet hiver. Le parquet de la mythique salle de Seattle, construite en 1962 pour l’exposition universelle, vibrera toujours au son du ballon et des «sneakers» du Storm de Seattle (l’équipe WNBA) jusqu’à l’automne, mais les Sonics ne prendront pas le relais. Tel en ont décidé les propriétaires de la franchise et la ville de Seattle mercredi. «Business is business», vous diront les protagonistes de l’affaire. Les pontes des Sonics avec un sourire au coin de la bouche et des dollars dans les yeux, le maire de la ville avec un air de dépit. Car c’est bien pour une question de gros sous que les fans de Seattle sont aujourd’hui orphelins de leur équipe. Cette dernière ne rapportait plus assez d’argent pour Clay Bennett, le patron du Oklahoma City-based Professional Basketball Club, propriétaire des Sonics.

 

Jackpot pour Oklahoma City

Depuis sa prise de pouvoir en 2006, le dessein de Bennett était clair : construire à Seattle une nouvelle salle plus moderne selon le modèle d’un Staples Center (Los Angeles) ou d’un AT&T Center (San Antonio), ou déménager la franchise à Oklahoma City. Face à l’incapacité de la ville à financer en partie le projet d’un nouveau building, les propriétaires ont opté pour la seconde option. Contraints de jouer au Ford Center d’Oklahoma City après le passage de l’ouragan Katrina à la Nouvelle Orléans il y a trois ans, les Hornets y avaient rencontré un franc-succès et le bruit de la cash-machine avait alors résonné plus d’une fois dans la tête de Bennett, régulièrement présent lors de ces rencontres. Inutile de dire que prolonger l’aventure Sonics à Seattle n’était pas vraiment sa priorité…

 

De beaux souvenirs

Le boss de la franchise devra tout de même verser 45 millions de dollars de dédommagements à la ville qui conserve les droits du nom et des couleurs de l’équipe. Un atout selon David Stern, le commissionnaire de la Ligue, pour qui Seattle reste «une ville de premier plan pour accueillir une autre équipe de NBA.» Pas de quoi rassurer les fans des Sonics qui attendront sans doute longtemps avant de vibrer à nouveau. Kevin Durant et Mickaël Gelebale, eux, doivent rapidement se trouver une maison sur les bords de la mythique Route 66. De ces 40 ans de basket dans Rain City resteront tout de même de beaux souvenirs. Le titre de 1979 face à Washington, le All Star Game 1974 ou encore la formidable saison 1995-96 et la défaite de Shawn Kemp et Gary Payton face aux Bulls de Michael Jordan en finale. C’est sûr, on repensera avec beaucoup plus de nostalgie aux Seattle Supersonics qu’aux Vancouver Grizzlies ou aux Charlotte Hornets, autres victimes de la business rule NBA il y a quelques années.

 

http://www.sport24.com/basket-nba/nba/actualites/bye-bye-les-sonics-168883/

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