Sonicsgate – A Review
Although director Reid is an admitted Sonics fan, the film is not simply a platform for pointing fingers at single people, but rather it does give valid arguments for both sides. This is what makes the documentary so good, it tells a well-rounded story. A valid issue for the opposing viewpoint is that of KeyArena. It is a fact that the stadium is not up to par with the rest of the league. It is one of the smallest stadiums in the league, and even if the games were sold out all year long, the revenue from attendance would not be able to cover inflating facility costs and the payroll of the players, coaches and staff. The second valid point the film makes is voter support. It is true that Seattle residents are hesitant to vote for a new arena, with the economy as bad as it is and taxpayers trying to keep as much as they can in their pockets. The film even interviews a member of a social group whose sole purpose is to work on initiatives to use government funds for “more important” public issues, such as education and healthcare. This is an argument that is valid, reasonable, and understandable.
However, despite the arguments supporting the opposite, one cannot help but feel the utter disappointment for how this story unfolded. The documentary plays out like a fictional film, with all the high stake risks and twists of a courtroom drama. In the end though, the film is about corruption, greed, and falsehoods, as a result, the team that was the Seattle Supersonics is now playing in Oklahoma City. The worst part of it all? As part of the settlement deal, Bennett gets to retain the history of the Sonics. That means the championship trophy, the banners, and all the records the Sonics gained in its 41 years of history will belong to him and the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, we may never get to see Gary Payton’s jersey rise in a Seattle sports arena.
The film is a complete passion piece. Jason Reid and his team made this film without the purpose of gaining a profit. As evidence of this, the film can be accessed and watched FOR FREE at this website (www.sonicsgate.org). Once there, one can view the evidence, behind the scenes footage, extended interviews, and a video of the film winning the Webby Award for Best Sports Film. I highly recommend this documentary to not just fans of the Sonics or fans of professional sports, but to fans of well-made films. It is a story with a moral, saying that what we have may not be there forever, and that we should love and fight for those things for as long as we have them. Because before we know it, it can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.
Final Grade: A
Gary Payton on Sonics Fans: