In 2008, the Seattle SuperSonics were relocated by Clay Bennett to Oklahoma City, becoming the Thunder and threatening to win World Championships ever since. In that time, my love of basketball and the NBA has become more muted than Black Bolt, Silent Bob, Snake Eyes, Pink Panther, Oddjob or Untalkative Bunny.
While baseball was the sport I would come to care the most about (and would have the most success playing, even if that wasn’t much), it was basketball that was my first love, the team sport that introduced me to the world of sports. I was voted best shooter on my 4th grade team, after all.
Shawn Kemp was my first (unfortunate) sport idol, and the 90’s teams with the Reign Man, the Glove, Detlef Schrempf and Sam Perkins were a treasure forever overshadowed by Michael Jordan and the Bulls. Then Jim McIlvaine and Vin Baker unfortunately happened, until Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis saved us. The promising reboot overseen by Sam Presti (and aided by the Portland Trail Blazers tragic drafting history) had glory, rainbows and orgies at its end. For Oklahoma City.
It took awhile, but I think I’m ready to get back into the NBA, or at least have myself a team again. Even though I was all kinds of mixed about the possibility of the Sacramento Kings coming to Seattle, I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t been tantalized and excited about the prospect of having a team again.
I think I’m happy that it didn’t happen, since we would’ve been no better than Clay Bennett, and I didn’t want to have that karmic imbalance hanging over our heads during our fresh start. So, it’s time to adopt a new team, the conceit of FREE AGENT FAN, a season-long odyssey tracking my fandom for a brand new city, team and group of players. Adopted parents love their kids just as much as anyone else, right? I aim to test that fact with sports, by selecting a NBA team randomly from the hat of destiny. Ironically, this idea was inspired by 7 Inches contributor, DYoungblood, a devout OKC fan, when he paid attention to hockey during the NBA’s last lockout in 2011.
The only rule for FAF? I’m subtracting the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Miami Heat from the running, because I don’t think my heart could take that, and this experiment would end before it started. So, with that, let me announce the timeline: