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October 27, 2008

In basketball saga, is Brooklyn more like Oklahoma City or Seattle?

Atlantic Yards Report

Could it be that it is only smaller cities that need major league sports to feel "major league"?

Bruce Schoenfeld's New York Times Magazine article yesterday, headlined Where the Thunder Comes Dribbling Down the Plain, describes the transformation of NBA's Seattle SuperSonics into the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the latter city's embrace and support of the team.

The lessons for Brooklyn, I think, are mixed. Unlike some other medium and large cities, where existing major league teams suck up attention and media coverage, Brooklyn's in a big enough market to support a team, should the Nets ultimately move here.

However, the Atlantic Yards saga suggests that New York behaved more like Oklahoma City than Seattle, offering political support, lobbying, and public funds to attract the team and built the arena, while in Seattle voters approved a measure, proposed by a group called Citizens for More Important Things, that ensured that any public money toward a new arena would have to generate legitimate financial returns.

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Posted by lumi at October 27, 2008 5:09 AM