Back in May, Kevin Johnson and the city of Sacramento succeeded in their last-ditch effort to keep the NBA’s Kings from moving to Seattle, and apparently that still doesn’t sit well with Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder, who expressed his displeasure with the decision during a recent show in — of all places — Oklahoma City.
The anti-Sacramento sentiment was shared on Nov. 16, but the story really starts at a tour stop in Charlotte on Oct. 30. Early in the band’s set, Vedder referenced the fact that Pearl Jam hadn’t played in Charlotte in a decade, and joked that it might be because Charlotte has a basketball team and Seattle, the band’s hometown, doesn’t.
During the brief interlude in Charlotte, Vedder referred to the folks in OKC as "the f—ers in Oklahoma City" and said that they are the ones whom the band should be mad at.
However, when the band reached its stop at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Vedder changed his tune and redirected his fervor toward Sacramento.
"See, here’s the deal," Vedder said in a pseudo-apology to the fans. "It’s nothing to do with Oklahoma or Oklahoma City or Tulsa or this state or the people or the locals or people in this building. It’s simply what it’d be like if your girlfriend, who you were with in a long-time relationship … well, you wouldn’t like her new husband. If it was Fresno, I’d be pissed off at Fresno.
"But the people that really f—ed us over, I guess, (are) Sacramento," Vedder continued. "’F— Sacramento,’ is what I meant to say. But when you think about it, have you ever been to Sacramento? They’re already kind of f—ed."
So Vedder bashed Oklahoma City in Charlotte, then bashed Sacramento in Oklahoma City. The band doesn’t have a tour stop in Sacramento, but it did play in Oakland on Tuesday night.
As of yet, there are no reports of Vedder offering a mea culpa to the California state capital — maybe because he’s running out of cities on which to shift the blame for Seattle’s lack of an NBA team. But at the end of the day, it all seems to be in good fun, and ultimately, Vedder knows who is really to blame for the Sonics leaving Seattle. And he said as much during the Oklahoma City show.
"If you know anything about basketball, there’s a guy named Howard Schultz in Seattle," Vedder told the crowd, referring to the Starbucks CEO and former Sonics owner who sold the team to the Oklahoma City group that moved the franchise in 2008. "F–k him. I’ll stand by that one. F–k him."