I was doing some research for something else I was working on and came across an interesting story in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The article is from Nov. 2, 2001, the day after the Memphis Grizzlies played their first game in the city after relocating from Vancouver.
NBA Commissioner David Stern was on hand and had this to say:
“We love to be where we’re wanted…It means a lot to the NBA to be in a place that renews us. It helps not only us but the team in the sense of renewal.”
After reading that statement, I couldn’t help but think of the current situation the Sonics are in. You’ll have to draw your own conclusions.
Also of note from the article was this tidbit: The Grizzlies had sold roughly 9,500 season tickets as of that opening-night. Stern said that figure was well within the league’s projections.
“When the operations started we thought the range initially would be between 7,500 and 10,000,” Stern said. “That (season-ticket base) is pretty good in NBA parlance.”
After reading that last bit, I couldn’t help but wonder how the NBA then views OKC after residents gobbled up more than 10,000 season tickets for the Hornets’ first season when they knew the team was temporary, then swallowed up more than 12,000 in Year Two when the team was clearly headed back to new Orleans. Again, draw your own conclusions.