Former Sonics Owner Says He Regrets Selling Team to OKC Owners

Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz delivers remarks at the Starbucks 2016 Investor Day in Manhattan, New York, U.S. December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RC13D1C50DB0

Former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz says in an upcoming book he regrets selling the team to an Oklahoma City-based ownership group led by Clay Bennett.

After the sale, the team played just two seasons in Seattle before moving to OKC.

“Almost everyone blamed me, and after some initial denial, I realized they were right to do so,” wrote Schultz, adding that selling the Sonics was one of the biggest professional regrets of his life. “I had squandered the very public trust that I had bought into.”

Schultz said he thought the sale to Bennett’s group would help get some leverage in negotiations for a new arena deal.

He says in the book he should have waited for a local buyer.

“The sharpest pains hit me not when I’m publicly insulted, but when I’m walking or driving and see someone wearing a SuperSonics T-shirt or cap. If it’s a boy with his dad, it’s like a stake through my heart,” Schultz wrote. “Losing the Sonics has been tragic for generations of fans, especially kids who are growing up without the benefit of an NBA team in their city. It’s a public wound I cannot heal. For that I will forever be deeply sorry.”

The Sonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.