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KEY Oklahoma City

When the Hornets found themselves in need of a place to play for the 2005-06 season due to Hurricane Katrina, a city familiar with tragedy welcomed them with open arms.

Oklahoma City stepped up with a fantastic relocation deal that accomplished two goals. The Hornets were given a temporary home in a first class facility and Oklahoma City got the long-awaited opportunity to show the rest of the country that it is a major league town capable of supporting a professional sports team.

“We’re going to help prove to the world that Oklahoma City is a major-league city,” Hornets Owner George Shinn said. “The potential is definitely here to make that happen.”

The community quickly confirmed Mr. Shinn’s hopes, as 5,000 ticket deposit orders were taken in the first 48 hours after phone lines were opened. The team is offering 7,500 seats at $20 or less, including 4,000 seats at $10. Season tickets are also available in the lower level for under $1,000. Fans can put down their deposits by calling 1-800-714-6018 or by logging on to

The likes of Shaq, Duncan, Kobe, Garnett, Iverson, LeBron and Carmelo will make their way through Oklahoma City over the course of the season. All 29 NBA teams team will play the Hornets at the 19, 675-seat Ford Center during the team’s 35-game home schedule.

The Hornets will bring their own stars to the city as well. The backcourt of J.R. Smith and rookie Chris Paul will be one of the most exciting in the league. Smith was a three-time Western Conference rookie of the month last season, averaging 10.3 points and 1.9 assists per game. Paul, the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, was a consensus First Team All American last season as a sophomore at Wake Forest University. Veteran forward PJ Brown and the flamboyant Chris “The Birdman” Andersen will also be key contributors for the Hornets.

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