An anonymous TrueHoop reader, and former die-hard Sonic fan writes about his complicated relationship with NBA basketball as of last night:
How is it even possible for an Arizona State fan to not enjoy NBA Draft night 2009?
Let me tell you.
As a big Seattle Sonics fan for two decades (1987 to 2008), the last couple of years have obviously not been that fun. One of the most painful aspects of the transformation of my team into the Zombie Sonics has been the fact that Sam Presti has constructed something pretty good in the town-that-shall-not-be-named.
He's had some old school Sonic luck (jumping into the second pick to get Durant, just like they did with Gary Payton), and he's put together a fun group of young talent. I would really enjoy rooting for this team in Seattle wearing green. But I can't. So, since the Sonics died, I've just rooted for former Sonics (Ray Ray in Boston, George Karl in Denver). That's been kinda fun.
I also got season tickets at my alma mater, Arizona State. I picked the perfect time to get on board, as James Harden and the rest of Herb Sendek's squad have just been a pleasure to watch over the last two years.
Then something started to rain on my James Harden parade. I started looking at the mock drafts, like Chad Ford's lottery/draft generator, many months ago. When it didn't give me the results I was hoping for, I started a little e-mail correspondence with Henry Abbott.
December 8, 2008 "The worst case scenario for me right now is the following: I'm a big Arizona State fan, and the idea that the Zombie Sonics might end up with the fourth pick and then take James Harden is enough to keep me up at night. Harden must not end up there, please ..."
December 16, 2008 "Just ran ESPN's mock draft a bunch of times. Every time the Zombie Sonics end up with the fourth pick, it has them taking Harden ... the computer is mocking me by predicting my worst nightmare!!"
January 30, 2009 "I keep running that mock draft generator and it looks like Chad Ford now has Harden at #2 on the Zombie Sonic's list, so the only way he doesn't end up there is if they slip out of the top spot. I know a lot can change, but all signs continue to point toward impending disaster."
June 10, 2009 "The nightmare approaches: Zombie Sonics select James Harden with the 3rd pick in several different mock drafts. I watched the lottery with serious attention. The Zombie Sonics moved up to the third spot, and that was too high for them to pick Harden, right?
June 25, 2009 (moments after the Zombie Sonics' pick)
Email: "GAH! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo"
So, I guess, all I can say is ... congrats James! It will be really hard not to root for you and your team, because I really wish I could. If you were in Seattle like you should be, tonight would have been a seriously awesome night for me.
I'm happy for you and Arizona State, while I'm also sad that you now make the transition into the undead. I hope it doesn't hurt.