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If you want NBA, time is now
Venture can work in OKC, but everyone must pull together

by Berry Tramel Published: March 4, 2008
Dumb luck.

* Civic attitude. Oklahoma City is enjoying a 15-year run of Downtown Makeover: extreme edition. From Bricktown to the Ford Center to the Civic Center Music Hall to the art museum to the library to the apartment boom, downtown OKC is not the same place it was, and the MAPS vote was the instigator.

Tax votes are hard to pass and should be. But it would be hard to find a window with more momentum for approval than today. An established record of the penny sales tax doing exactly what supporters said it would do — transform downtown — and NBA fever still burning strong, with the Hornets only 11 months gone.

The idea that the NBA is clamoring to come to Oklahoma City is ridiculous. If the NFL can go without a team in Los Angeles, I think the NBA will somehow survive without a team in OKC.

Without this vote, the Sonics almost surely will withdraw the application for relocation, and the NBA owners would not approve it anyway.

This is not the kind of market the NBA is interested in without full steam ahead from all parties. New arena. Government support. Citizen support.

Anaheim, Las Vegas, San Jose and Kansas City always are mentioned among the cities that want an NBA franchise. But think of the gothams that don't have an NBA team and could or will jump into the fray.

Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Hartford, Tampa Bay, San Diego, Louisville, Norfolk. And we haven't even discussed the international card. Mexico City, Monterrey, dang near every bright light in Europe.

And yet today, Oklahoma City can secure what they all would like. We got to this point through preparation and performance and, yes, luck.

If you want the NBA, the time is now.

Oklahoma County polling sites Interactive: NBA database
by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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