Claremore Daily Progress

June 10, 2012

HORNING: Why everybody wants to be OKC

The Norman Transcript

OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s not like everything is a dollars-and-cents issue and yet the figures are still quite telling, because if there’s one thing even the most left-leaning lefty can grasp, it is the accuracy, if not the desirability, of an utterly unapologetic free market.

With that in mind, here submitted is a sampling of secondary market ticket prices from StubHub, the NBA’s scalping partner.

At about 5:15 p.m. Saturday afternoon, you could still get standing room tickets for last night’s Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals at Miami’s American Airlines Arena.

Price? $90.

But they were not the only Heat tickets available. Tickets were already available for Game 3 of the NBA finals.

Price? $254.

Front row courtside tickets were not available for Game 7 or a could-be coming Game 3. But the seats right behind those seats were.

Price? $1,800 to $8,000 for Game 7, and $7,957 to $10,000 for Game 3.

Cue Oklahoma City.

There is no standing room at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Instead, there is Loud City. The worst seats in the house, in the corners, bottomed out at $309.25.

Also available? Four tickets together in the front row for $35,000, or $8,500 each.

But let’s say you don’t need the front row, only the sections behind the front row. The NBA’s secondary market partner will let those go for between $2,299 and $4,000.

Maybe it comes with dinner.

Two days before the last Super Bowl, according to (and reported by Bloomberg News), the best available seats at Lucas Oil Stadium were going for $4,311.

That’s right.

The best seats for every finals game in Oklahoma City will cost more than Super Bowl seats.

It is the company Oklahoma City now keeps, even if it is not the company Oklahoma City resembles.

The city has reached the big time, all without getting too big for its britches.

It is the beauty of the Thunder, put together by general manager Sam Presti with lessons learned in San Antonio. If character doesn’t come first, it is at least in column 1B.

Also, it is the reason the honeymoon never has to end, for the city and state that calls it its own will stick with it just as long as it’s proud to call it its team.

Believe it.

The civic pride the Thunder engender is only partly fueled by an understandable inferiority complex; for the state’s first city has never quite been Dallas, Kansas City, St. Louis or Chicago — the major metros of America’s midsection — even as it’s forever been a fine place to live (and recently become a terrific place to visit).

The pride that has the national media swooning over the scene inside and outside the arena is as simple as solidarity, because just try to find a player on the roster who doesn’t embody the values you hold dear.

Kevin Durant is cool, but it’s his humility that makes him beloved.

Russell Westbrook may be among the league’s top four or five natural athletes, but it’s how hard he plays that rings so true. James Harden is the league’s best sixth man, but it is his selflessness that has everybody cheering the Beard.

Thabo Sefolosha doesn’t expect starter’s minutes despite starting; Nick Collison leads in ways far beyond the box score; Serge Ibaca has become a star without acting like one; and Daequan Cook has happily accepted a reduced role since Derek Fisher came along for the good of the group.

Together, they have come to mean so much to a fan base starved for the big time, only because they refuse to act big time.

They have turned their slogan into a manifesto rather than a bumper sticker.

Team is one.

So many of them so young and under extended contract, it is only beginning.

The Thunder are the model.

Everybody wants to be OKC.