Chesapeake Energy Arena in downtown Oklahoma City has been living up to that Energy portion of its name all year long. Thunder fans have that place rocking through television screens all over the country, and have done so ever since OKC first entered the playoffs a couple years ago. With Kevin Durant’s first trip to the Western Conference Finals set to commence, it’s only about to get louder.
The overflow of support has carried out into the street surrounding the arena. “Thunder Alley” as it’s been dubbed, has called home to thousands of OKC fans surrounding the Arena taking in all the action on huge big screen monitors hanging outside. It’s been cool to see, as Craig Sager and his matching blazer have been out in front of it reporting live during TNT telecasts, but things took a tragically sad turn on Monday.
The unfortunate shooting that occurred in the neighborhood around the Arena has local leaders in conjunction with the team calling for change to Thunder Alley as the WCF approach.
This according to CBS’ Eye on Basketball:
After a shooting in Bricktown marred a big victory for the Thunder on Monday night, Oklahoma City’s mayor Mick Cornett said the wildly popular “Thunder Alley” has to change. An estimated 10,000 fans gathered outside Chesapeake Energy Arena downtown to watch the game on a big screen to go with 19,000 inside the arena.
“The city manager and I spent some time with the chief of police and many members of our security detail (Monday),”said Mayor Cornett to News 9 in OKC. “We came to the conclusion that the manner in which we have known as ‘Thunder Alley’ has taken place and continued to grow just can’t continue.”
The team issued a statement saying that Thunder Alley will continue, but the watch part on Reno Ave. may not.
“We are working with the city and the police department to look at ways to control crowds and ensure safety,” said Thunder spokesman Dan Mahoney. “We are strongly considering eliminating the watch party, but Thunder Alley, the pregame party on Reno, will continue as normal.”
Hopefully the necessary changes officials are working to make do prevent any violence in the future. The way the community has rallied around OKC has always been cool, and I look forward to watching that continue in a peaceful manner.