Howard Schultz Rumors
In the years since, Mason has sold his work to notables such as movie star George Clooney, sportscaster Joe Buck, nightlife honcho Rande Gerber and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz. His colorful abstract art has been shown at Art Basel in Miami, and the married father of two just sold a painting to Chicago businessman David Gupta for $60,000.
But Bennett’s words were as devoid of truth as much as KeyArena is devoid of Sonics basketball today. The Gasman’s foresight became a reality. After a nasty two-year litigation process, the team announced on July 2nd, 2008 that they would be moving to Oklahoma City. What went wrong? Mike Gastineau strikes the gavel and points the finger right at Schultz. “Howard Schultz was a quitter and that’s what killed this team. He is the beginning, middle, and end of it. He is an incredible titan of industry. He taught the world about $4 for a cup of coffee but he was a terrible basketball owner,” says Gastineau.
That a major station could ignore a third of the professional sports sphere entirely is preposterous from an outsider’s perspective. But it is a testament to the severity of the pain that the move to Oklahoma City caused the city of Seattle. “There’s no doubt there’s a huge hole here. There’s a huge gap here, especially in the wintertime. Once the NFL season ends in January, that’s when the traditional rhythms of thinking about basketball used to start and now it’s gone.” “People say, ‘Oh it’s not that bad’, but really it is like there was a death in the family. When they left, it left a huge hole in the city’s sports heart that might never be fixed,” add Gastineau.
Payton continued his criticism of Schultz, who was criticized heavily in Seattle for selling the Sonics to an owner who had relocation intentions. Schultz sold the Sonics less than six months after announcing they were on the market. “He just messed up our whole [franchise] and people did leave Seattle alone when he owned the team,” said Payton. “That’s why he had to sell it again, because he was struggling. He made a lot of silly moves and the first silly move was getting rid of me.”
“I wasn’t asking for a lot; I never asked for a new contract [before my previous one expired],” Payton said about his final season in Seattle. “All I asked was whether we were going to get an extension [in the offseason] and [Schultz] made it seem like, ‘I don’t care about you no more, you’re nothing.’ So, that’s what happened. He [saw] that wasn’t the right way and the whole franchise went downhill from there. “It was time to go. I didn’t want to work for this guy. He knew it and I knew it. We don’t have the right people running this squad. Why sit here and be miserable.”
Baker credits former Seattle Supersonic owner and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz with helping him come to New York and turn his life around. Schultz had a relationship with Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts III of the Abyssinian Church. Baker and Butts hit it off when they met, and Baker moved to New York this past summer. For seven months, Baker quietly went about his business at the church. It wasn’t until a reporter saw him at a local basketball tournament in late December that he agreed to speak out for the first time. And he did so only because he wanted to bring attention to his ministry and to the students he coaches. One of those is Dimencio Vaughn, a star sophomore forward on the Thurgood Marshall basketball team. When Vaughn’s grandmother died of a heart attack on New Year’s Day (“Right when the ball dropped,” Vaughn says), it was Baker who counseled him. “He’s like, ‘You got to keep pushing yourself, don’t let it stop you,” Vaughn said. “ ‘I know you loved her, just do this for her and yourself.’ It made me cool down.”