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Playing “what if” with potential NBA championship parade routes

Oklahoman business columnist ponders how the Thunder and the city might have routed a parade had the team won the NBA Finals last month.
by Steve Lackmeyer Modified: July 2, 2012 at 7:13 pm •  Published: July 3, 2012

When the Dallas Mavericks reached the NBA Finals in 2011, and when the Heat did as well last month, parade routes were plotted out in both teams' hometowns before the outcomes were known.

Officials with Oklahoma City, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber and the Thunder all say they had no such plans or parade routes decided as the Thunder faced off against the Heat for the big trophy.

Now that the hoopla is all over, however, one can at least ponder the challenges the team and civic leaders might have faced planning a parade.

Anyone who visited downtown this past year knows the streets are a mess. It's still bewildering to contemplate that some in the city thought downtown could have begun hosting a yearly Grand Prix race in 2011.

The most scenic streets downtown are a construction zone. Broadway is torn up at Sheridan Avenue, which in turn is torn up through Robinson Avenue, which is torn up at Main and Park Avenue, which both are torn up at Hudson, which is torn up in many, many places.

One might contemplate a parade route could have avoided such obstacles if it followed along Automobile Alley (Broadway between NW 10 and NW 4) and then along E.K. Gaylord Boulevard with a finale in Bricktown.

That parade starts and ends well, but the stretch along E.K. Gaylord Boulevard, a virtual cavern between the BNSF Railway viaduct to the east and parking garages to the west, is a brutal sight — and not one that would best present the city to a national television audience.

Maybe a parade route could have followed along Sheridan Avenue and then doubled back along the Bricktown Canal. The question then is whether Bricktown could safely handle such large crowds in such a confined space. Would police once again worry about the sort of violence that occurred during the final Thunder Alley festival?

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by Steve Lackmeyer
Business Reporter
Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's...
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