The Big 3 league came to Oklahoma City in the heat of the summer and blessed a crippled fanbase with some entertaining basketball, full of players and coaches that NBA fans haven’t heard of in awhile.
Names like Perry Jones III, Mike Bibby, George Gervin, Shannon Brown, Greg Oden, Stephen Jackson, Jason Terry, and Charles Oakley were in the Chesapeake Energy Arena at one time and those are only half of the big names that were there.
One of the Big 3 reporters approached me and asked what the racial demographic of OKC was and how surprised they were to see as many Black faces in the crowd. It has always amazed me how people perceive the city of OKC. I’ve heard it all from “do people still ride horses and live in teepees?” to “you guys have black people there?”
It’s quite ridiculous how clueless some people can be.
As far as this particular reporter goes, it was a legitimate question. The black population isn’t vast, but it’s there for sure. While OKC is 67.7 percent White, it is also 19.1 percent Hispanic and 14.5 percent Black. It’s grown in diversity over the past 15 years and continues to do so.
Some forget that Oklahoma was almost a Black state and there are 13 historically Black towns in the state. There are 11 more that are no longer in existence.
But, if you were to look into the crowd of a Thunder game or just watched a television broadcast, which most have, you’d probably think the same thing as the reporter. This isn’t Salt Lake City, UT that only has a two percent Black population. OKC is more cultured than you think, regardless of what is portrayed in the media, and that showed on Sunday evening at the Big 3 competitions.
Throw the politics of a Thunder game aside, along with all the people that are only there for the appearance of being at an NBA game. Then, insert a crowd that purely knows and loves the game of basketball, mixed with hip-hop culture that Ice Cube built this league on and that’s what the vibe was in the Peake.
There was a refreshing, yet different atmosphere today which was precisely what the city needed as it continues to grow in multiple ways. To top everything off, Ice Cube gave a performance of his timeless hit “It Was A Good Day” during halftime of the second game and people were rushing from the main concourse to watch it.
Things started slowly as far as attendance goes, but Oklahoma is the Bible Belt and missing church on a Sunday isn’t an option. After everyone filtered in the arena halfway through the first game, the atmosphere was set and the players did what they’ve always done best; entertain. This event was for all people, but it turned out to be a fun experience for Black culture.