FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Contact: Ray Carter, House Media
Capitol: (405) 557-7421
Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman
Capitol: (405) 557-7305
OKLAHOMA CITY (April 11, 2007) - Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and Senate plan to praise the Hornets basketball team for its achievements and look to the future of pro sports in Oklahoma.
A House concurrent resolution by state Rep. Joe Dorman and state Sen. Mike Morgan praises the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets "for their support of Oklahoma throughout the past two years" and "extends a warm welcome to the Hornets family to return to their adopted state anytime in the future ..."The resolution is being filed in advance of the Hornets final Oklahoma game on Friday, April 13.
"The Hornets have been a great success story for Oklahoma," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "We've proven that Oklahoma is NBA-ready."
Dorman and Morgan are two of the main authors of a tax incentive bill that lured the Hornets to Oklahoma after they were displaced by 2005's Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. At the time, officials expected the NBA team could provide a multi-million boost to the state economy - and they were right. A 2006 study showed the Hornets had an economic impact of $66.4 million on Oklahoma City during the 2005 season.
"Above the economic impact, the spirit brought forth by this team was contagious and led many Oklahomans to immediately adopt this team as their own," said Morgan, D-Stillwater. "The Hornets tenure in Oklahoma was great not only for them to continue and grow as a team while New Orleans rebuilds, but it also gave Oklahoma the opportunity to experience top-level professional sports regularly in our great state."
"Oklahoma displayed to the rest of the world we can be the home of professional sports," said Dorman. "Whether we are the recipients of an existing team or a newly-created expansion team, our state will no doubt be hungry to see an NBA team located herepermanently in the near future."
"We appreciate the opportunity extended by the Hornets and the NBA to be the adopted home of the team and their personnel," Morgan said. "The experiences over the last two years with community service provided by the players and the Honeybees has been an immeasurable benefit to Oklahoma and we will not soon forget how great an opportunity this was to have them here."
"There's no denying the state got a fantastic return on our investment," Dorman said. Dorman noted that average attendance at home games was 18,718, more than 97 percent of capacity with 18 sellouts in the first season. The Hornets regular season ends next week with the team still seeking a spot in the playoffs.