It’s probably my in-born East Coast bias as much as it is my natural bias against Clay Bennett’s giant terrible orange team-stealing face, that makes me think Oklahoma City isn’t an NBA town. After all, the Hornets drew very well during the parts of two seasons they spent in OKC, and the city voted overwhelmingly to fund the arena upgrades that would make possible Bennett’s planned relocation of the Sonics to Oklahoma City. But as this column from The Oklahoman‘s Darnell Mayberry indicates, the fact that Oklahoma City might be an NBA city doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a place I’d want to visit:
Citizens had valid reason to question the need to pay the cost of an NBA-use-only practice facility, or object the Ford CenterNBA fans and shouldn’t have to pay for something they’d never use, or because there is always better things to spend tax dollars on. measure because they’re not
But the criticism sailed foul when some argued that the NBA’s presence would increase Oklahoma City’s crime rate and drag down the city.
Too many examples were heard from callers of talk radio shows and seen on reader comments around the Internet. Suggestions for possible team nicknames included “Posse, “Thugs and “Hoodlums.
Bill from Tulsa took it a step further in his response to a March 4 column by The Oklahoman’s Berry Tramel.
“The answer is no, Bill wrote on NewsOK.com. “We don’t want the NBA, with its image problems, fatherless children, egomaniacs and shootings. No thanks.
Fortunately, not everyone was as misguided.
In response to Bill from Tulsa, Jill in Oklahoma City wrote: “The NBA has a fabulous public service mandate for their players. Imagine Kevin Durant reading to your child at school. There are some players who can provide a very positive role model for our children.
Patrick in Edmond chimed in by challenging those who contend the NBA has a horrible image to come up with one bad thing that happened in Oklahoma City during the Hornets’ two-year stay that could be directly linked to the NBA’s presence.
Good luck with that one.
Of course, argumentum ad messageboard is kind of cheap, and using callers to sports talk radio as anything but an indication of anything other than how bad our educational system has become is probably equally so. But considering that Oklahoma City has problems of its own — problems every bit as pressing as the fact that Hinder came from there — it’s probably more important to keep working on meth and worry less about Saer Sene and other marauding Sonics big men despoiling things with their “egomania.” Also, there’s a meth/big-man joke in there about Robert Swift, but I can’t quite find it.