Did you experience any of the following emotions when the Seattle Supersonics left our town for Oklahoma City?
- Awkwardness around the office because you had no idea what your super-fan co-workers were talking about or what a Howard Schultz is.
If the answer is yes in any case, you may appreciate watching Sonicsgate, the documentary created by a local team of tireless Sonics fans, Adam Brown, Camp Jones, Darren Lund, Colin White and Ian Connors - led by experienced local filmmaker and director, Jason Reid (all pictured above).
Even after receiving accolades from ESPN and the Webby Awards, and now getting national screen-time on CNBC, the Sonicsgate team has stuck to their initial mission when they released the film in 2009: to make it about exposing the "true story" behind the sale of the Seattle Supersonics and the alleged corruption involved. That's (partly) why the original director's cut is still available in full - and for free - on the Sonicsgate YouTube channel. Also, they probably couldn't risk getting sued if they tried to sell the film.
This is no sentimental fan diary. It's a vigorous argument against the interests that, in their view, claimed a symbol of childhood heroes in the name of profit. It's well-made, and even for a clueless spectator like myself when it comes to sports: riveting.
The only thing more amazing than the filmmaking team's personal persistence as fans (I'm pretty sure they still travel to Oklahoma Thunder games decked out in their Sonics gear), is the number of interviews they compiled for this project. From team players, to journalists, to politicians to totally random celebrities (Ryan Stiles) who feel passionate about the NBA, they recorded just about anyone with a point of view on the matter. It's the kind of thorough storytelling that we don't see enough of in the national media these days.
So it's exciting to see (a shorter version of) the film get national attention. Talk about a story of local boys making good.
I haven't seen the TV edit yet, but the director's cut effectively upends a story that could have had a neat ending when the Sonics left Seattle - instead, with the help of this film, a slightly less tidy moral emerges: don't mess with the home team.
Friday 4/27 and Sunday 4/29; 7p.m. CNBC. sonicsgate.org
Watch the new trailer: