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?
One cannot rule out the prospect of a parade along the Oklahoma River either. Note that the Christmas parade that once entertained families in Bricktown was moved several years ago to the river. And when NBA on TNT commentator Charles Barkley was set to ride a Bricktown Canal boat during his visit in Oklahoma City during the playoffs against the San Antonio Spurs, fans gathered along the waterway only to discover that the filming was switched to the Oklahoma River Cruisers.
A river parade, however, would come with its own challenges, most notably a limited number of access points and a lack of shade from the hot Oklahoma sun.
Some futurists might envision a parade along the future boulevard that will replace the old alignment of Interstate 40 south of downtown. But that road isn't even designed yet, and critics will note so much of it is set to be elevated that it, too, would make for a very short parade.
In this parlor game, perhaps the best option for an NBA championship parade in Oklahoma City is for it to occur after the majority of Project 180 construction on downtown streets is completed — which is set to take place later this year.
Note to Kevin Durant: win it all next year and downtown Oklahoma City will be ready to join you in the celebrations!