The impact of a permanent NBA team in Oklahoma City has been profound, Cornett said.
“We’ve reached a new plateau,” he said. “It’s led to a higher quality of life, job creation, and heightened city pride.”
As far as the future is concerned, the mayor doesn’t see the city making any additional big moves for awhile.
“I think it would be presumptuous to assume we can attain a higher level,” Cornett said.
That’s not to say the minor league experience isn’t fun, and Cornett said he thinks the city needs to retain its minor league teams even with the NBA in town because that’s where the city started, and many fans agree.
“I remember going to 89er games; those were fun,” said Beau Bailey, an Oklahoma City sports fan who first moved to Edmond in 1986. “A lot of big names came through there. ... (But) no one ever thought that we’d have (an NBA team) in Oklahoma City.”
Classen School of Advanced Studies
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OKC Sports Timeline
1993 – The first Metropolitan Area Projects (MAPS) penny sales tax is passed, providing funds for a new sports arena to possibly lure a major league team.
1998 – A MAPS extension is passed, ensuring the completion of the arena.
2002 – The Ford Center is completed.
2004 – Mick Cornett elected as mayor of Oklahoma City.
2005-07 – The NBA’s New Orleans Hornets are displaced due to Hurricane Katrina and play two seasons in Oklahoma City.
Nov. 2, 2007 – The NBA’s Seattle SuperSonics begin planning to move to Oklahoma City.
April 18, 2008 – NBA owners approve the SuperSonics’ move to Oklahoma City.