NBA commissioner David Stern had just one complaint during his trip to Oklahoma City for the Thunder’s inaugural game Wednesday night — a television monitor inside a Ford Center meeting room displaying a live band dressed as NBA officials outside the arena.
Referees are sort of a touchy subject. Stern spoke glowingly of much of everything else concerning Oklahoma City and its new NBA franchise. “Yes, I’m excited to be here,” said Stern, predicting reporters’ questions as he begin his pre-game press conference. “Yes, I think that this team is going to do very well here. “I’ve never seen in my experience a coming together of the legislature, the governor, the mayor, the city council, the private sector and the business community and, of course, the fans.” Stern said he expects sellouts most nights at the Ford Center. The Thunder sold about 13,000 season tickets in five days, the franchise’s entire allotment, and needed to start a waiting list for season tickets. The Thunder is one of only four teams with a waiting list for season tickets. “The exact numbers don’t matter to me as much as the response,” Stern said of the crowd count this season. Stern also praised the team’s five major corporate sponsors — Chesapeake Energy, Devon Energy, MidFirst Bank, The Oklahoma Publishing Company and SandRidge Energy — which were announced this week. “Clay Bennett has led an extraordinary, extraordinary team that has done what it’s done in the shortest possible time imaginable to get this place going,” Stern said.