Downtown Oklahoma City Getting Thunderous Makeover
By Rusty Surette, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY-- Signs of support and pride are apparent in downtown Oklahoma City as the Thunder prepares for the upcoming matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA playoffs.
Beginning Sunday, the Thunder will take on the Lakers in Los Angeles for round one of the NBA playoffs. Games three and four will be played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City next Thursday and Saturday.
But before history unfolds right before our eyes, and the eyes of the nation, Bricktown will be getting a polished look, courtesy of the Thunder and Downtown OKC Inc.
"Having the Lakers come into town and have them to see our great downtown, it's a great opportunity for us," said Kathy Fordwallis , Downtown OKC Inc.
That means putting a fresh coat of paint on bridges, new landscaping, and putting plenty of Thunder signs up all over downtown. Most notable are the banners on the Sandridge Building and the new 300 pound posters going up on the side of the Cox Convention Center.
For the large-scale projects, a company called Xtreme Media was brought in to help. They said they're biggest challenge has been Oklahoma's windy weather.
"Getting those panels down and in position to stick is like a big puzzle, with the winds fighting us, it'll blow those panels right out of our hands so we have to be careful," said Manuel Padilla, Xtreme Media.
Ironically, Manuel and his crew are from California, but in next week's matchup, they said it's the Thunder and not the Lakers they'll be rooting for. He said Oklahomans won him over with their hospitality and spirit.
"Yeah, we hear they are a good team, good guys, good young guys. We've been talking to a lot of people. Real nice people here in Oklahoma. I like it here," Padilla said.
Friday afternoon a large rally called Thunder FanFest will kick-off in Bricktown at the corner of Sheridan and Oklahoma Avenues. The party begins at 5:00 p.m.
NEWS 9 will air OKBlitz.com's special "Chase for the Championship" beginning at 6:30 p.m. tonight.