Oklahoma City Thunder turning a corner



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Oklahoma City Thunder arena update September 2023 Image: OKC Ford Center, Caleb Long, CC BY-SA 2.5

The atmosphere at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (US) has seen a drop over the last few years during the rebuild. This is almost expected when a team enters a new era. Roster turnover, not as competitive games and the pandemic were a few reasons this might’ve been the case.

‘si.com’ stated that things began to turn around last season, though. The hype building around the team improved. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Canadian basketball point guard who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association [NBA]) grew from a borderline All-Star to a superstar, and this was by no accident.

The 18,203-capacity Paycom Center is an arena located in Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. It opened in 2002 and since 2008 has served as the home venue for the National Basketball Association’s (NBA’s) Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Oklahoma City Thunder is an American professional basketball team based in Oklahoma City (US). The Thunder competes in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Northwest Division of the Western Conference. The team plays its home games at the Paycom Center.

Said Sam Presti, Thunder General Manager, “People who are elite at what they do are also people who do monotonous parts of their craft with excellence.”

‘si.com’ further stated that he alluded to Gilgeous-Alexander’s offseason training as “intense”.

On top of Gilgeous-Alexander’s ascension to superstardom, then-rookie Jalen Williams (American basketball small forward who play for the Thunder) emerged as a potential star. Josh Giddey (Australian basketball player who play for the Thunder) proved his potential is real and his ability to both improve and grow his game is strong.

Not only did the team oversucceed, but the idea of Chet Holmgren (American basketball forward-center who plays for the Thunder) returning this season left even more hope for the Thunder fans. While the team began to arrive, ‘Loud City’ (Paycom Center) began to improve and more fans were showing up and showing out.

Now, more than ever, it’s time for Loud City to do what it’s always done and how it earned its reputation. This is for a couple of reasons.

As mentioned, the team is turning a corner. A new era is here, there will be roster continuity moving forward and the fans have a consistent team to cheer for. Kicking off this new era with the same appreciation and support the Kevin Durant (American basketball player) and Russell Westbrook (American basketball players)-led teams saw will be a true tonesetter.

The home-court advantage is a very real thing. These young players will rally behind a good crowd, and bringing energy on a nightly basis will be much easier if fans truly support and bring the noise.

Added Presti, “What I say to our fans is: Enjoy the ride. We have a great group of guys. And they work hard. They really want to do well for the City, the team and themselves. One day we want to have a real home-court advantage again. And we realize we have to earn that.”

With a new arena on the horizon for the Thunder and a crucial vote in the coming months to build a new arena and retain the team in Oklahoma City long-term, the fan base has the ability to sway the vote and show that the team deserves to stay in the City.

When the Thunder was competing for the championships and was a top team in the Western Conference consistently, the support was outrageous. The level of support needs to return to that level as the franchise is hitting a new era of competing at a high level and keeping the team in the City.

So, it’s up to ‘Loud City’ to show why it got its colors and why it has the reputation that it does and show up for the team consistently as they begin to define themselves.

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