This is an article I wrote, jeez, more than two years ago (August 26, 2009) on a day when I was just sitting around missing the Sonics, and couldn’t get the song from the newest Nike Ad out of my head. As I said, we won’t go too deep into speculating about the new arena until the details come out tomorrow, but here’s some fun for now.
Unresolved bitterness? Check.
Misplaced anger? Check.
Hope for the future? Fading.
Those are the symptoms of the basketball-neglected former-Seattle-Sonics fans. I have all of them; however, I couldn’t help but notice a few things in a recent Nike commercial that caught my eye.
First, the commercial features two former Sonics stars: Rashard Lewis and Kevin Durant. The two both played portions of their amateur ball in Texas, so perhaps they know each other, but maybe there is more to this.
Is Nike taunting Sonics fans?
It’s possible, but unlikely. However, what went under-spoken during a year of turmoil in the stomachs of fans, in arbitration hearings, and in Olympia, the state’s capitol, is that perhaps Durant wasn’t so excited to see two All-Star caliber veterans traded upon his arrival.
Lewis and Durant could have been a dynamic (albeit redundant) duo, but General Manager Sam Presti opted to let Lewis walk. He’d later trade Ray Allen, effectively cutting the legs out from under any potential playoff hopes the team might have had with the addition for Durant.
Maybe Durant wasn’t all that stoked to head to Oklahoma City. Maybe he wasn’t excited about the way it happened, and that his name would be forever associated with a traitorous franchise.
Maybe Durant liked Seattle. He does still own a home here.
Put on your tin foil hat and take a look at the video.
At 0:59, Durant appears, sitting on the rim of a basketball hoop, sporting a curiously green jersey.
The video cuts away, and just before it returns to Durant, we hear him rapping. Then something even more curious happens, Durant’s rap alias “Velvet Hoop” is displayed—over his jersey—in gold.
For the first time in over a year, Durant’s name, however unofficial, in gold, has been placed on a green jersey.
In fact, every other player in the commercial has their rap name displayed in white.
About 1:06, Durant—erm—Hoop raps “What’s the temperature Sam, 80 degrees.”
Best I can tell, the commercial filmed sometime between early and mid-July, and no later than July 22. There were two days before July 22, in Seattle, with temperature highs of 80 degrees. If one allows room for artistic license, Seattle spent most of the beginning of July in the high-70s and low-80s.
Oklahoma City by contrast, spent most of the beginning of the month in the mid-high-90s or low 100s.
A subliminal message to Presti?
Maybe Durant isn’t just a capitalist, but loves the game of basketball. He certainly appreciates the city he was drafted into.
About 2:12 into the commercial, there’s a scene of Durant sitting on a couch while Lewis raps.
Perhaps this is the Sonics equivalent to the scene in Happy Gilmore when we see Chubbs, his caddy, in heaven. He has his hand and he’s made peace with the alligator that took it.
The way things should have been.
Maybe Seattle will watch Durant play his home games in Seattle again.
Maybe I’m grasping at straws, just something to ponder on.