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Originally published February 18, 2012 at 10:30 PM | Page modified February 18, 2012 at 10:52 PM

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The arena of hype, hope and preferably hockey | Ron Judd

You have to hand it to Mayor McSonic and this Chris Hansen guy — who, based on the keen insight into him we gathered during his half-day parachute trip into Seattle, we can assure you is very probably a demigod.

Seattle Times staff columnist

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Respect you say?? By allowing Stern to use Seattle as his personal p***ing post again? ... MORE
Thanks for this piece Ron. I hope that certain Seattle Times columnists and... MORE
excellent column! MORE


You have to hand it to Mayor McSonic and this Chris Hansen guy — who, based on the keen insight into him we gathered during his half-day parachute trip into Seattle, we can assure you is very probably a demigod.

It takes some chutzpah to pitch, to People Who Know Better, the mere concept of a "self-supporting" half-billion-dollar sports pleasure palace — its primary tenants a set of currently nonexistent franchises of the two most financially crippled U.S. pro sports leagues.

But even we donned our old Lonnie Shelton jersey and began humming the tune to "We Won't Get Fooled Again" when the mayor and county exec said they're negotiating, this time around, tax-dollar-repayment guarantees.

And we take great comfort in knowing that each of those is every bit as ironclad and legally inviolate as the lease keeping the Oklahoma City Sonics tied to Seattle's KeyArena.

More Fantasy League Draft Dodging: Just One Question: If the arena deal is such a zero-risk slam dunk, why can't Hansen and his imaginary partners just borrow that $200 million public subsidy from any bank?

Answer: Because it isn't.

Lost in the Pompom Flotsam ... : Are the ugly little facts that the modern NBA remains a mockery of its own sport, an enterprise shunned by a huge portion of local dedicated sport-fandom, with 1-percenter ticket pricing, a still-failing business model, and a chief executive with the morals of a turkey vulture. Wait; where do we sign up for season tickets again?

On the Other Hand: It sure is good to see the adults back in charge of sports-entertainment acquisition. If you can't trust a guy who lied about the waterfront tunnel to get elected and his new-best-friend shadowy hedge-fund manager, who can you trust?

OK, True Confession: In spite of our distaste for all things NBA, it'd be great — check that, awesome — to have an NHL team in town. Maybe even great enough to merit putting up with fixed basketball games.

But Alas: Seems unlikely that the NHL is desperate enough to shove its Phoenix franchise into the unworkable confines of KeyArena for two years while David Stern Memorial Arena (call it "The Dave") is being built in the SoDumb District.

Speaking of Weasels: Have you taken the time to forgive Stern and fellow slimy henchman Clay Bennett yet? It really is time to move on and make things right with those who might have accidentally robbed you blind just a few years back. Mayor McGrovel is passing a big smoochie civic we're-sorry card around town. Please shut up about schools and roads and stuff, sign, and pass to your neighbor.

We Kid All You Arena Fans: But it does seem the planets are lining up for this thing. Front to back: Planet Hype, Planet Warped Perspective, and Planet Wishful Thinking.

Finally, and Completely Seriously: If this arena should by some miracle actually get built, promises are kept, fans are happy, civic pride swells — and not a single public dollar is squandered — hallelujah. A good thing.

The lesson would be that it happened because Seattle was one city that showed enough spine to say hell no to public-coffer-raiding proposals of years past.

Or as they like to say over at the U-Dub Sports and Spine Center: Backbone matters.

Ron Judd's column appears each Sunday. Reach him at

or 206-464-8280.

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About The Wrap / Ron Judd

"The Wrap" appears on Sundays, highlighting the absurd and providing the punch line to the week's news headlines.


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