City impresses NBA

Tuesday, March 25th 2008, 12:52 pm
By: News 9

By Stacey Cameron, NEWS 9

Listen to NBA Commissioner David Stern speak and you get the impression Oklahoma rolled out an all-star line-up of politicians, business leaders and Sooner sports legends to convince the league that Oklahoma City is a big time sports town.

"It was very impressive and one understands why it's more than simply Oklahoma City, it's Oklahoma," Stern said.

While Sonics owner Clay Bennett said he is absolutely committed to the process of moving the Seattle franchise to Oklahoma and taking up home in the Ford Center, the NBA still has to write off on that plan.

That's why the league's top brass drove into town, essentially looking to have two questions answered.

Can the Ford Center be renovated into an NBA arena? And can Oklahoma's economy support a pro hoops team?

The answers according to Stern are yes and yes.

"Pretty much a tour de force on behalf of Oklahoma that I'd say impressed the members of the committee greatly," Stern said.

But if you don't want to take the Commissioner's word, here's what New Jersey Nets Owner Lewis Katz said about Oklahoma City.

"In my judgment, this is going to be an amazing experience for the NBA, amazing," Katz said.

Katz is part of the league's relocation committee. He said Oklahoma City is a big time sports town.

"You keep talking about being a small market, you're not a small market," Katz said.

Katz was here with two other members of the relocation committee, team owners from the Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers.

They will recommend to the full committee on April 17 that the Sonics move to Oklahoma.

Finally, the commissioner and Bennett were asked if the Sonics lose their lawsuit over the Key Arena lease, would that block the team from moving here.

They both said no, it would only delay the Sonics move to the year 2010.