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Jenni Carlson: OKC has never seen a sports day like today

by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 22, 2010 at 8:58 am •  Published: April 22, 2010

/articleid/3455869/1/pictures/916094">Photo - Oklahoma City Thunder forward  Kevin  Durant pauses as his team calls a timeout during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening game of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) -

Quarterback  Sam  Bradford warms up before the college football game between OU and the Baylor Bears on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant pauses as his team calls a timeout during the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in the opening game of a first-round NBA basketball playoff series, Sunday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) - Quarterback Sam Bradford warms up before the college football game between OU and the Baylor Bears on Saturday, Oct. 10, 2009, in Norman, Okla. Photo by Steve Sisney
But for that team to have made the playoffs and face the Lakers in the first round?

It’s all a tad surreal.

Never has there been a bigger sporting event in Oklahoma City.

Oh, the first time the Big 12 basketball tournaments came to town a few years back was a big deal. That was a dual-venue event that the city had wanted for years, and to finally have the men at the Ford Center and the women at the Cox Convention Center, the energy was amazing.

The first day of the men’s tournament and second day of the women’s tournament also coincided with the first day of the high school state basketball tournaments.

Total games that day in the metro area: 46.

Still, this Thunder-Lakers game is different. This is Oklahoma City’s NBA Playoff debut. It is the city’s chance to show that is has done more than make it onto the NBA stage. The city has proven that it belongs there.

The world will have a chance to see that tonight. Through the magic of television, people will see the sold out Ford Center, the decked out downtown and the geeked out fans.

Make no mistake — our state has been witness to big games before. But most of them have required sports fans to pick a side. Crimson or orange? Sooner or Cowboy? OU or OSU?

There are no sides tonight.

That’s one more reason that this is a day unlike any other that this city has ever seen.

Who knows? Today may be the first of many spectacular sports days for Oklahoma City. We may look around in a decade or two and realize that days like this are like a Tuesday in Miami.

Then again, April 22, 2010, may never have an equal. We may never see such major events converging like this again.

Mark it down, Oklahoma City. This is a special day.

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by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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