If you follow the NBA, by now you should be well aware of the Sonicsgate movement and resulting film. Sonicsgate came together in an attempt to stop the Seattle Supersonics from being ripped away from the fans who held them so dear. Anyone who has had their team torn away from them by the forces of greed will understand the plight of the basketball fans of Seattle — as a Sydney Kings fan who grew up in Australia, I certainly do. (Thankfully for me, the Kings have been resurrected this year to return in the 2010/11 NBL season.)

Recently the Sonicsgate team have been intensifying their efforts to return the Sonics to Seattle. Sonicsgate Director, Jason Reid and Producer, Adam Brown were kind enough to take some questions about their current efforts and progress. The responses to the interview below come from Adam, with the support of Jason.

For those unfamiliar with the Sonicsgate film and movement, could you both briefly describe your involvement with both the film and the team?

“Sonicsgate: Requiem For A Team” is a feature documentary that exposes the truth behind the Seattle SuperSonics tragic relocation to Oklahoma in 2008 after 41 years of playing in the Emerald City. As five hardcore fans who had our team stolen from us, we had to fight back and expose the lies and corruption that caused this to happen.

I was the volunteer Media Director for the Save Our Sonics group as we fought to save the team those last two years, and Jason Reid was also an SOS volunteer as he would produce short videos on the topic. After the team left, we were both furious and, through a series of coincidences, met up and decided to produce this film. My title is “Producer and Media Director”, Jason’s is “Director and Producer”.

We started shooting interviews in June 2009 and premiered the film in October 2009, which is a ridiculously short schedule for a feature film from start to finish. Lots of 20-hour days in there to get it done, and we had an amazing team of people helping out along the way.

Lenny Wilkens (via Seattle Times)How would you describe the current status of the fight to restore the Sonics to Seattle?

Basically, if we build a new arena, I think we’ll be first in line to get a team. But that is a big if at this point. The Washington State Legislature has now shrugged off two opportunities to take advantage of Steve Ballmer’s generous $150 million private contribution towards fixing up Seattle Center and Key Arena, so it looks like the only option going forward is a 100% private arena in Bellevue or somewhere like that. It appears that the City of Seattle has no interest in revitalizing Seattle Center and the Lower Queen Anne area.

The economics of the NBA are about to change dramatically when the Collective Bargaining Agreement is renegotiated after next season, so I think we’ll have a lot clearer of a picture when that happens in 2011-12.

What feedback, if any, have you had from David Stern and the league office on the film and your efforts for recognition of the wrong-doings towards the fans of Seattle?

Absolutely none. The NBA refused to interview with us and have ignored our film completely, most likely for PR reasons. We love NBA basketball, but we are obviously not happy with the way David Stern and the league have treated a loyal fanbase that supported their product for 41 years.

Payton and KempI was thrilled to see not only the involvement of former Sonics stars such as Gary Payton with the Sonicsgate movement, but also non-sports stars such as Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam (my favorite all-time band!). Was meeting these stars along the way an unexpected pleasant consequence of the whole ordeal?

This whole experience has been bittersweet. More than anything, we want a team back, but getting to hang with Gary, Jeff, George Karl, Sam Perkins, Brent Barry and other heroes of ours while making this film has been really fun. Really everything about making the film has been a cathartic and redemptive experience.

I’ve noticed that the recent “We Want Your Team” campaign sparked some cries of distaste from fans of other teams. I understand that this shock-reaction was somewhat intended. How do you feel that the overall reaction to this set of “Stern Warnings” (a phrase which I’m happy to have inspired) to the other teams of the league has been?

Nobody wants their team stolen, and we don’t want to make any other cities’ fans feel the heartbreak we felt when ours was stolen. The “We Want Your Team” campaign has gotten some people’s attention because we have brought to light the fact that David Stern has set a dangerous precedent that No Team Is Safe. With no expansion on the horizon, the only way Seattle will get another team is through relocation, so we wanted to take that message to other cities and warn them that their favorite team could be next on the chopping block.

Stern has set the precedent. We are just the messengers since we were forced to be the martyrs. Pay attention to Sonicsgate, NBA fans, because the league has said that no amount of team history, playoff wins, hall-of-famers, market size and even championships matter to them. If you have a couple of bad seasons and the owner sees greener pastures in another city for the short term, he can uproot and steal your team.

What plans do you have next?

We are going to continue fighting for the common fan by spreading this message across the nation. More than 90,000 people have watched the film online and we have done 10 theatrical screenings so far. Sports Illustrated named Sonicsgate “The Most Persuasive Grassroots Flick of 2009”, and we’ve been shortlisted for two Webby Awards (“Best Sports” and “Best Editing”) which we’ll find out the winners in May.

We have plans to screen Sonicsgate in New York, Salt Lake City, Sacramento and maybe even Oklahoma. We are also rallying people and using this educational film as a tool to create political action here in Washington, since our elected officials really let us down throughout this whole process. The film has also been adopted as part of the educational curriculum in colleges and high schools across the nation including the University of Louisville, Illinios State University and the University of Washington.

Many thanks to Adam for his responses. I can not recommend highly enough that you watch the Sonicsgate film (it truly is compelling viewing) and navigate the Sonicsgate.org website to educate yourself on the situation. As Adam points out, this could be you one day. Losing a team you have poured your love into can be soul-destroying.

If you are in the vicinity of New York City on April 30th and May 1st, you can book yourself a ticket to see the film in all it’s glory at the People’s Improv Theater (second floor of 154 W. 29th Street) in Manhattan at 3pm on both days. Advanced tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets: Event ID 105518.