Thunder Alley achieved its original purpose: give even more fans a chance to feel a part of the wave.
Our gal Jenni Carlson on Tuesday blogged about the shooting and received the following comment: “I really hope that the actions of a few fools do not cause the city to close Thunder Alley. My grandsons love going down there. Because I am on a fixed income and can't afford tickets, they can still feel the excitement.”
Those grandsons are the losers if Thunder Alley dies.
In whatever form the street party survives, the city and the Thunder can take some action. More police presence, which always helps, and no liquor sales on the street. That's a rough mix; thousands and thousands of people in a relatively small space, spiced with alcohol.
Still, the peace officers on the street Monday night didn't think liquor was the problem. Just some punks showed up. Could have been the State Fair, could have been a music festival, could have been the mall.
Troublemakers follow the crowd.
See, that's the real lesson we learned from Monday night. We wanted to be a big-league city? Well, this is what big-league cities go through.
Cities are more than corporate leaders and brilliantly skilled athletes and middle-class ticketbuyers and women looking for inexpensive ways to entertain their grandsons.
Cities also are made up of thugs. In small towns, you can pick out the troublemakers. Everybody knows them. Not so in the city.
That's something else the NBA has done for us. Educated us. Those cops on the street Monday night/Tuesday morning? We chatted with several leaving the arena. All were composed. None seemed rattled. All seemed like they had gone through nights like this — shots ringing out, multiple victims — far too many times.
I think they knew something long before we did. Long before the Thunder came to town and the Lakers were vanquished.
This is the city.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.