It is a desperate and deprived place where old Seattle Supersonics banners are tucked away in the bowels and 41 years of history is left to decay. Perhaps if you look closely enough, you could see the skid marks from moving trucks that sped away four years ago.
We're not in hell. We're not in the NBA Finals, either. While the Oklahoma City Thunder prepare to face LeBron James and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals, Seattle sulks in NBA purgatory, debating a proposal to build a new arena to bring back the NBA and pondering how the Thunder's bitter Finals run can be considered sweet elsewhere.
"This is the worst feeling I've ever had as a Seattle sports fan," Sportsradio KJR host Dave "Softy" Mahler said. "It's a helpless feeling, absolutely beyond helpless."
It's bizarre and downright cruel. In 2008, the Sonics posted a franchise-worst 20-62 record as disingenuous new owner Clay Bennett hired whiz-kid general manager Sam Presti, stripped down the roster and rebuilt while alienating local fans. The team re-emerged as the Thunder, finished the job, and the rest is enough to make any Seattle diehard turn Sonics green with envy.
Who loses a franchise when it's in the middle of building a championship roster? Seattle can spell futility backwards, but still, this is an all-timer. It was unbearable enough for the city to lose its oldest and most successful pro team. Now, it is getting shown up in a game with no mercy rule. "Now, you're just rubbing salt in it," said Ron Dino, a local bartender.
Dino is a former Sonics ball boy. He has worked in restaurants and bars near KeyArena for most of his adult life. He figures 70 percent of his costumers hate this situation as much as he does. He was chatting at the bar at Belltown Pizza a few days ago with several patrons, searching for the exact analogy for what's happening to Seattle.
They came up with this: "It's like being in your ex-girlfriend's wedding, and she looks better than she ever looked with you."