Commissioner David Stern prefers not to publicly discuss potential host cities for the NBA All-Star Game.
But on Oct. 29, 2008, the night the Thunder made its league debut after the franchise relocated from Seattle, Stern said he did not see an NBA All-Star Game coming to Oklahoma City in the foreseeable future.
This city is miserably short on hotel rooms and limousines.
Build a couple of hotels the size of the Devon tower and lure a couple hundred limos up from Dallas and, heck, anything is possible.
Barring that, today's US Fleet Tracking Basketball Invitational hosted by Kevin Durant is the city's best chance to host so many All-Stars.
The contest begins at 6 p.m. inside the Cox Convention Center. Roughly 1,400 tickets remain available at $29, $39, $59 and $89. The game will be shown live on the Cox Channel (Cox cable channels 3 and 703).
Six players from last year's All-Star Game have committed to play — Durant and Thunder teammate Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire of the New York Knicks, LeBron James of the Miami Heat and Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets.
A seventh All-Star, former Oklahoma standout and reigning rookie of the year Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers, was going to participate, but cut his foot while swimming in the ocean and will not be in attendance.
Also committed to play are James Harden and Kendrick Perkins of the Thunder, former Thunder player Jeff Green of the Boston Celtics, Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trail Blazers, John Wall of the Washington Wizards, Jamal Crawford and Damien Wilkins of the Atlanta Hawks, Michael Beasley of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Jonny Flynn of the Houston Rockets and a late addition, Monta Ellis of the Golden State Warriors.
Sunday is Day 115 of the NBA lockout and with little hope for a new collective bargaining agreement anytime soon, there's a chance this could be the last NBA exhibition game on American soil this year.
Durant has toured half the globe playing exhibition games this offseason — from China, to the Philippines, to Rucker Park in Harlem, to his native Washington, D.C., to Los Angeles, to Miami, to North Carolina, to Philadelphia and today, finally, to OKC.
"Kevin Durant would hoop in your backyard, if you called him up," ESPN anchor Scott Van Pelt said one August night on SportsCenter.
With the NBA still in lockout, more than a dozen of the league's top players are hammering out the details of a two-week, six-game, four-continent tour that would begin next Sunday and make stops in Puerto Rico, London, Macau, and Australia.
Each game would be staged in arenas seating at least 15,000. Two games each will be played in London and Australia.
That list of candidates includes James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, Paul, Anthony, Stoudemire, Griffin, Westbrook, Carlos Boozer, Kevin Love, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo and Tyson Chandler. Durant and Kevin Garnett also are contemplating playing.
ESPN.com reported the players would be paid salaries ranging from six figures up to $1 million. Some of the money generated will be donated to charity.
"The lockout's been very frustrating for the players, the coaches, the owners, but mainly the fans," Beasley said after holding his own exhibition game Friday night at a suburban Minneapolis high school. "I feel like basketball is a getaway for a lot of people and they can't get away right now. I felt like it's our job to bring basketball back to Minnesota. I'm glad that a lot of my friends came to help me do that."
Despite 30 hours of talks between owners and players over the three-day span last week, the new CBA remains unsolved.
When negotiations broke down, Paul tweeted: "Sad day for basketball fans everywhere, 'Take it or leave it' is what we heard from the owners so here we are ... apologies to the fans!"