Limiting Thunder festivities good idea

Eight people were shot in downtown Oklahoma City after the Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the NBA Playoffs.

Joey Stipek

As a result, Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma City Thunder executives, and Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett decided to move the pre-game celebration known as Thunder Alley three hours prior to tip off.

Oklahoma City officials also eliminated outdoor viewings of the playoff games on a big screen outside of the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

While this is an unpopular opinion, Oklahoma City officials did the right thing by curtailing and limiting the festivities.


There are just too many people in a tight, crammed area for Oklahoma City Police to effectively monitor the situation. Not every citizen has the best of intentions when going downtown to cheer on the Thunder.

Tyler Maxwell told The Oklahoman on May 23 he regularly watched games outside the arena and noticed “there was all kind of fighting” after Game 2 against Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time fan violence has occurred outside an arena during an NBA playoff series.

In 2000, a full-scale riot broke out outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles after the Lakers won the NBA Championship.

After the riot, Los Angeles Lakers executives and city officials decided to eliminate all outdoor big-screen viewings of Lakers games.

With crowds growing larger in size and becoming rowdier during each Thunder Alley event, Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson told The Oklahoman on May 23 there was a heavy police presence around the arena that evening for the Lakers game, but admitted police “ … were outnumbered.”

What if that incident had grown larger and more out of control over the course of the evening?

The only shooting that should be occurring at Thunder games should be from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden from the three-point line.

By curtailing the possibility of possible future fan violence and the possibility for riots after games, Oklahoma City Police, Cornett, and Oklahoma City Thunder executives made the right call.

—Joey Stipek

Special Assignments Reporter

To contact Joey Stipek, email

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