OKLAHOMA City proved with its housing of the New Orleans Hornets that it could support a National Basketball Association team for two seasons. Now the city, and all of Oklahoma really, is getting a team for keeps, and so the work begins anew to prove our worthiness.
NBA’s commissioner and the large majority of the league’s owners believe in us, else they wouldn’t have voted to allow the Seattle SuperSonics to be moved here. But there are plenty of skeptics, too, those who don’t see the wisdom in moving a team to a smaller city and a smaller media market.
And so what team owner Clay Bennett said Wednesday night, amid the joy and excitement that greeted news of a settlement with the city of Seattle, cannot be repeated often enough.
Bennett pointed out that training camp begins in about two months, with preseason games beginning in October and the regular season tipping off in early November. That’s just four months from now. “So this thing is here,” Bennett said, “and it will require the extraordinary efforts of us all, and I know that we will make it happen.”
By “us all,” he means not just his ownership partners and team personnel, but the local business community and, most importantly, the fans. All parties responded beautifully after the Hornets were displaced by Hurricane Katrina, which is what made a believer out of Commissioner David Stern.
Statement from NBA commissioner David Stern
Statement by Seattle Mayor Nickels
Sonics settlement agreement