Thunder Rumblings


NBA All-Star Game: From sea to shining sea

by Michael Baldwin Modified: April 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm •  Published: February 14, 2010

What’s unique about the NBA All-Star Game is it attracts fans from across the country. But unlike a Super Bowl or a Final Four, a lot of fans drive across the country.

Even if they don’t have tickets to the game — a lot easier this time since 100,000 might attend tonight’s game at Jerry World — fans want to be part of NBA All-Star weekend.

Remember that license plate game you used to play as a kid when making a long trip? The object was to try and spot more state license plates than your sibling. If the trip was long enough, or you were lucky, you might see 20 or 30 different states in one day.

In the Dallas area this weekend you only needed to travel to a few hotel parking lots or go downtown to the Jam Session at the Dallas Convention Center to find that many in one hour. Fans from Big 12 country, states like Missouri, Kansas or Missouri isn’t that big a deal. Nor is Arkansas, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico or Mississippi.

But when you start noticing license tags from Georgia, California, Arizona, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and South Carolina, that’s quite a commitment to drive that far. I even saw a license tag from Montana.

This is my first NBA All-Star Game. I was told it’s like a weekend-long, giant party that brings fans together from across the country.

If hotel, restaurant and downtown parking lots are any indication it might not be that difficult to spot a license plate from most, if not all, of the 48 states from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans.

I wasn’t even trying that hard and spotted 28 different states.

by Michael Baldwin
Mike Baldwin has been a sports reporter for The Oklahoman since 1982. Mike graduated from Okmulgee High School in 1974 and attended Oklahoma Christian University, graduating with a journalism degree in 1978. Mike's first job was sports editor...
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