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Take 2

A different spin on sports by The Seattle Times staff and readers.

May 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

Sorry, Seattle: Thunder named Sports Team of the Year

If having the Kings slip through Seattle’s fingers last week wasn’t enough, here is some news that should make NBA fans in our city cringe:

The Oklahoma City Thunder has been recognized as the 2013 Sports Team of the Year.

Ouch!

So that means Seattle lost the NBA franchise it thought was coming, and the NBA team that left town in 2008 is considered a model organization.

The Thunder was one of 15 winners honored by the SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily. The award was presented at a live ceremony Wednesday in New York. The awards cover the period from March 1, 2012 through Feb. 28, 2013.

The Thunder beat out four nominees for team of the year, a list that included Seattle’s own Sounders FC MLS soccer team. So maybe that makes you feel a little better. But that’s probably offset by one of the other nominees: the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, the Seahawks’ arch rivals.  MLB’s Washington Nationals (another relocated franchise, from Montreal) also were nominated.

What likely will rankle Seattle NBA fans is the paragraph lauding the Thunder. It drives home what our region is missing while not even acknowledging that the team was in Seattle first, known as the Sonics for 41 years. Even won the NBA championship in 1979.

“In five years, the Thunder has become a small-market sensation, known as much for its community involvement as its on-court success. A powerhouse at the turnstile, the Thunder rank among the top teams in the NBA in attendance and season-ticket renewals, despite its small market. The team boasts an aggressive use of social media and leads the league in local television ratings. It has become the gold standard for team business practices, whether it’s innovative approaches to sponsorship or fan engagement strategies.”

So the team Clay Bennett bought and sent packing to OKC in 2008 is the gold standard? Let’s say that again: ouch!

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