Sticking up for "The OKC"

Thursday, April 10th 2008, 12:25 pm
By: News 9

I like Mark Cuban. I think he's refreshing, and his devil-may-care attitude toward Stern and the establishment is humorous. He's a great owner. What he does to take care of his team and his fans is unparalleled.

That being said, I think he's all wet on his reasoning behind not supporting the Sonics move to Oklahoma City. Cuban says he's worried about having so many teams bunched together in the same region of the country...citing the close proximity of San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Memphis, New Orleans and Oklahoma City.

I did the math. 624 miles separate Memphis from San Antonio, the outermost points of those six teams. And 50.1 million people live in this region of the U.S.

Now take Chicago, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Detroit, Minneapolis and Milwaukee...six teams tightly packed in the upper Midwest. 642 miles separate Cleveland from Minneapolis, their outermost points. And 51.2 million people live in that region of the country...virtual identical numbers. Anybody worried about the health of the Bulls or Pacers or Pistons franchises?

The NBA is not about city size or TV market. It's about stars. Nobody cared about Cleveland until Lebron arrived. Nobody cared about Utah until they got Stockton and Malone. Look at New Orleans and Chris Paul. New Orleans is now a significantly smaller television market than Oklahoma City, but the Hornets are now a TV draw. The ultimate example is the Green Bay Packers. Brett Favre made them one of the biggest draws in all of sports in a hometown that doesn't have a building over three stories high.

Nobody's tuning in to watch Seattle play anything across the nation. Not the Sonics, not the Mariners, no the Seahawks. Cuban is usually right...but I think he's wrong about this one. I think he's just scared of having to deal with the River Otters in his own back yard.