SAN ANTONIO — This Texas tourist mecca rightfully is called one of America's most unique cities. A distinction that's never been afforded Oklahoma City.
But many are the similarities between the homes of the NBA's Western Conference finalists.
Let us count the ways.
* Downtown water. The Bricktown Canal is an absolute knockoff of San Antonio's Riverwalk.
But if you're going to steal an idea, steal a good one. And OKC did.
From the gondolas tours to the waterside restaurants, the Canal has been a great addition to the Oklahoma City landscape, just as the Riverwalk is a San Antone institution.
* Sacred memorials. The list is short of must-see American tributes to the fallen among us. Pearl Harbor. Ground Zero. Arlington National Cemetery. Gettysburg. The Vietnam Memorial.
San Antonio and Oklahoma City are on the list.
The Alamo remains a sobering experience for all who enter its doors, 176 years after becoming the rally cry in the Texas Revolution.
The Oklahoma City National Memorial is not quite as venerable; it's been 17 years since the bombing of the Murrah Building. But the Oklahoma City Memorial serenely captures the spirit of that dark day and the hope that sprang from it.
* 19th century jurisdiction. OKC and San Antonio aren't the typical Westward Expansion histories of most American cities between the coasts.
The land on which San Antonio now sits was a Mexican stronghold until the war for Texas Independence.
The land on which Oklahoma City now sits was Indian Territory, with likewise an autonomous government, in the 1850s and 1860s.
* Weather. Charles Barkley said he'd prefer OKC to San Antonio, just because of how hot it gets in Alamo City. But Chuck didn't spend the summer of 2011 in Oklahoma, when the temperatures soared past 110.
* Freeway. Interstate 35 rolls right through both cities.
* Air Force bases. Lackland in San Antonio and Tinker in OKC are difference-making economic engines.
* Solitary-franchise cities. San Antonio has an American Hockey League franchise; so does Oklahoma City. San Antonio has a baseball team in the AA Texas League; OKC baseball is in the AAA Pacific Coast League.
But these cities smack dab in football country have made their mark as NBA bastions, cities ga-ga over professional basketball.