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Zombie Sonics 

The Miami Heat is a bought-and-paid-for super team that wrenched its starriest star (in a team of stars) from one of America’s saddest sack teams. The only opponent who could turn the Heat into a sentimental fan favorite in the NBA Finals is the opponent they got: the Oklahoma City Thunder — colloquially known as the Zombie Seattle SuperSonics. Below, a roundup of the world’s complicated feelings:

Sherman Alexie, Twitter post, June 6: “If the OK City Thunder (my former Sonics) win the NBA title then I will vomit grief.”

Dave Zirin, The Nation, June 11: “[T]he sports radio obsession with villainizing … athletes blinds us to the swelling number of villains who inhabit the owner’s box. And in Oklahoma City, we have the kinds of sports owners whose villainy should never be forgotten.”

Jess Walter, Twitter post, June 12: “Heat? Thunder (stolen SuperSonics)? Can I root for another labor dispute?”

Bill Simmons, Grantland, June 13: “[OKC fans] cheer the Zombie Sonics just as loudly as Seattle cheered the Sonics once upon a time. Is it possible to feel happy for Oklahoma City while continuing to feel absolutely, unequivocally terrible for Seattle? Actually, yes.”

Game 5 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for Thursday in Miami.


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