•December 1993: Oklahoma City voters pass the MAPS sales tax, which is to fund a downtown arena, and an OKC investor group begins talks with National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman about bringing an NHL franchise to town. •February 1997: Oklahoma City named one of six finalists for an NHL expansion franchise. •June 1997: The NHL's expansion committee selects Nashville, Tenn.; Atlanta; Columbus, Ohio, and St. Paul, Minn., for franchises, rejecting Oklahoma City. •September 2001: George Shinn's partner, Ray Wooldridge, had a meeting scheduled with Oklahoma City mayor Kirk Humphreys to discuss possible relocation of the Hornets from Charlotte. But the trip was scrapped because of 9/11 and never rescheduled. The Hornets ended up in New Orleans. •September 2005: After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, Oklahoma City quickly put together a plan to host the Hornets, who for the next two years prospered at the Ford Center and enchanted the city. •February 2006: Clay Bennett and others form Oklahoma Professional Sports LLC, with the stated intention of bringing a permanent NBA franchise to Oklahoma City. •July 2006: Bennett and his partners purchase the Seattle SuperSonics for $350 million and announce that upon closure of the deal, they will give Seattle one year to produce a plan for a new arena. •April 2007: The Hornets play their final home game at the Ford Center. •November 2007: Bennett announces he has filed a relocation request with the NBA to move the Sonics to Oklahoma City.
Clay Bennett and a group of Oklahoma City businessmen bought the Sonics for $350 million in July 2006. Associated Press