On May 21, you might recall, Bricktown turned into the OK Corral shortly after the Thunder eliminated the Los Angeles Lakers from the NBA Western Conference playoffs. Eight people were shot just a few blocks west of “Thunder Alley,” the area in front of the arena that began as pre-game entertainment, but over several weeks had morphed into a massive watch party drawing thousands of spectators to watch the game on a large video board.
The shootings, attributed to a teenager, caused no shortage of pearl-clutching by civic cheerleaders (the politician/commentator type of cheerleader — not the hot ones with the huge pom-poms) at the realization that Oklahoma City indeed has urban issues that might occasionally creep into places visited by the likes of Escalade-driving suburbanites.
Amid the ruckus, city and Thunder officials announced that Thunder Alley would return to its original manifestation as pre-game, family-friendly entertainment, but with no outdoor telecast.
But the shootings weren’t the only negative attention OKC received after the Thunder win. A sports columnist for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune told his readers that, while the Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t in the playoffs, there’s a lot they could learn from the example of Thunder fans: specifically, what not to do.
“Don’t act like an Okie,” wrote the Tribune’s Jim Souhan.
Jim’s helpful list of critiques included:
—dress yourself (“Be adults, not sheep,” he wrote, referring to fans wearing same-color T-shirts provided by the Thunder);
—if you can’t get a ticket, don’t gather like zombies (regarding Thunder Alley);
—don’t stand the entire game; and
“Beat L.A.!” (“Nothing makes a fan base sound more small-time,” Jim
mused, “than borrowing a decades-old chant about those bullies from the
The piece is obviously great trolling material, and it had its intended effect. NewsOK.com posted the article and the blog The Lost Ogle opined on it. Still, Chicken-Fried News suggests that OKC will truly be a “big-league city” when we can laugh off this sort of carping.