NBA Playoffs: Shootings “kill” Thunder Alley vibe


Thunder Alley
Game 5 scene outside Chesapeake Arena in Oklahoma City.

Monday night was a great night for the Oklahoma City Thunder organization. They took another step in the right direction, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 4-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals to advance to the WCF. But I am not writing about Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook or how well the Thunder played against the Lakers. I am writing about the aftermath of the Thunder’s win on Monday night. The Thunder has one of the coolest things outside of their arena that takes place in “Thunder Alley“. Thunder Alley is a pre-gaming area for people to buy food, drinks, and jerseys, or play games. However, for the playoffs, they take things up a notch. People, who don’t have a ticket, can sit outside the arena and watch the game (going on inside) on a big screen (the picture at the top shows what Thunder Alley looks like for the playoffs). It was a cool way for fans to mingle, eat, and watch the game (I don’t know how Thunder Alley is set-up and whether they charge a cover fee to watch games). It was something that nobody else had, until Monday night.

It was business as usual on Monday. After the Thunder dispatched the Lakers, people filed out of their seats and the arena after a little post-game celebration for their team’s most recent success. But shortly after, a fight broke-out resulting in gunshots being fired. According to police reports, eight people were injured, one is nor in critical condition, and a pregnant woman was injured in the assault. The police have also said that the fight and gunfire had absolutely nothing to do with the game.

Due to the events of Monday night, the Thunder organization and Oklahoma City police have concluded that Thunder Alley is to shut down right before the game starts.

I am all for safety and it’s good that they are shutting this down before the game starts. The Thunder plays the San Antonio Spurs in the WCF and I could only imagine some crazy fan going off on an innocent group of people if his or her team loses. Oklahoma City has already had enough on its plate. When the federal building was blown up in 1995, it did two things to Oklahoma City. 1. It hurt and killed thousands of people and 2. It brought the city closer together. This is a city that really cares about its citizens and its citizens really care about its citizens (that’s not a typo). This shooting can’t compare to the federal building travesty in any way, shape, or form, but it’s still an act of violence and it’s sad to see this happen.

It’s a shame to see such a cool thing be shut down, but it’s for the better.

I did a paper on the Murrah Federal Building when I was a junior in high school.

And I still have it.

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