OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City SuperSonics owner Clay Bennett announced today that he will sell the NBA team he wrested from Seattle and moved to Oklahoma City just three weeks ago. Bennett said he and his fellow billionaire owners realized after their settlement victory in Seattle that there is one thing they enjoy more than owning a basketball team.
“More than anything we love screwing people over,” a beaming Bennett said. “When we looked down from the 14th floor of the federal courthouse and saw 3,000 Sonics fans holding a rally – helium balloons, dorky signs – to save their team, how could you top that?
“We said, ‘Just think, we could do this to a whole damn state!’ It’s like pissing off your little brother and holding him back from punching you by jamming your hand on his forehead – times 6.5 million,” he said.
Bennett said the ownership group, including oilmen Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward, previously had planned to announce the sale on the eve of the team’s first game this fall in Oklahoma City. Considering the impact of such a decision, however, the owners hired a public relations firm to conduct a market survey before a final move, he said.
“We asked Oklahomans about when they thought they’d be more ecstatic – now, or at the beginning of the season. You don’t have to be Howard Schultz to guess how that turned out.”
He said the owners plan to issue a sincere apology to Oklahomans later this summer, and then dangle the prospect of the team moving back to Seattle. Those negotiations will last at least two years and include a demand for a $3 billion arena to be built atop Mount Rainier, he said. Selling the team to other potential Oklahoma owners is “out of the question,” Bennett said.
Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said city hall was deluged today with angry phone calls and e-mails. Earlier this year, Oklahoma City voters approved a $121 million sales tax for the owners, but only if the team moved to Ford Arena.
Bennett said he will file a lawsuit to keep the tax money. He expects city and state officials to offer a settlement rather than endure an “embarrassing and ugly” court fight that would smear Oklahoma City, he said.
Cornett confirmed Bennett is likely to get his way.
“We’re a red state, and we believe in two things: Jesus, and the blessings He bestows in the form of negotiable U.S. currency,” he said. “Jesus richly anointed Clay, Aubrey and Tom to lead us, and we’re certainly not about to betray Jesus.”