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Presti a perfect fit for OKC's new darlings

by Berry Tramel Modified: July 11, 2008 at 1:33 pm •  Published: July 11, 2008

/> But Presti gave a glimpse into Bennett's vision for the future.

"With a young core of guys, coming into a new franchise, each step we take we'll be able to do so together,” Presti said. "The way Clay feels about our team and his passion for the city, it seemed something that could run parallel.”

Presti comes from a place where the city embraced the team, the team embraced the city and the two are forever linked. And no, I don't mean Seattle.

In San Antonio, hard football country, the Spurs have become the city icon, with solid citizens David Robinson and Tim Duncan and four of the last 10 NBA championships.

Presti, professionally adopted by Spurs masterminds Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford, saw the San Antonio marriage fully bloom.

"We're not trying to be the Spurs,” Presti said. "Not trying to be San Antonio. We want to develop our own identity, develop our own way of doing things.”

Fine. But the comparisons are inevitable, and just as San Antonio grew into a nationally recognized world-class city while its basketball team did the same, Oklahoma City and the Durantulas take off together.

OKC embarks on major-league status with amazing momentum. A revitalized downtown, a strong economy the envy of much of America and remarkable cooperation between the public and private sector.

The Not-the-Sonics embark with a promising young roster, extra first-round draft picks coming soon and loads of payroll-cap space. Seattle won just 20 games last season, but there's every reason to believe this team will get better and better as those 19-year-olds move through their 20s.

"It's exciting,” Presti said. "It really is. I keep using that term, but can't come up with a better one.”

Oh well. Maybe when he's older.

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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Sam Presti, GM of Oklahoma City's NBA franchise, speaks during a news conference Thursday at the Skirvin Hilton Hotel. by NATE BILLINGS, THE OKLAHOMAN

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