There are obviously fans who will follow a team no matter where they go. Geography may be less important than legacy, players, and success. The Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association are a team on the rise, and despite losing in the 2010 playoffs, they appear to be built for success in the future. As the team grows in success and popularity, it is likely that former Seattle SuperSonics fans will watch and feel like they are being left out. Some fans are likely to argue that the Thunder are still "their" team, and if there is any fairness in the universe, they should be returned. With that in mind, here are a few thoughts on why Seattle SuperSonics fans have a hard time rooting for the Thunder of Oklahoma City.
A bitter taste
The departure of the Seattle SuperSonics is a very bitter subject for some people. When a team is around for over 40 years, there is a relationship that is built. The Sonics brought Seattle a championship and many great memories over their tenure in the city. Every fan base experiences fluctuations of support over a period of years, but most of the time people still want to hang on to their franchise. Even poor franchises still have a certain group of fans that will stick with them through the good times and the bad.
Leaving on a bad note
What makes it difficult for some Sonic fans is the circumstances of the departure. It is difficult for some fans to root for a team that is owned by a man like Clay Bennett. While there are various opinions on the subject, it seems relatively clear that Bennett never had any intention of keeping the team in Seattle and that he misled city officials and former owners. The argument that Seattle did not support the team financially may have some merit, but the reality is that Bennett created a no-win scenario for the city. Plus, proclaiming an arena that had been renovated 10 years earlier to be out-of-date only demonstrated further the greed of someone like Bennett. Therefore, fans have a hard time rooting for the Thunder, considering the reality that many would consider Bennett to be a thief and a liar.
Team success and future opportunities
If the Thunder were doing poorly, Seattle fans might not feel so bad. However, Oklahoma City seems to be a situation where they may be the next great team in the NBA. This makes some Sonic fans feel all the more slighted. Contributing to the frustration of Sonic fans is the reality that the NBA may not return to Seattle anytime soon. Commissioner David Stern has indicated that it is a possibility, but Stern appears to have a massive ego. He may not forgive a city that refused to bow down to a owner and award them with a new arena funded with public money. Still, Seattle remains a very viable market, and the NBA is all about making money. SuperSonics fans are still upset, but some day they may again have a team that they can call their own.