UPDATE: Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Kansas NBA fans filled downtown Wichita Wednesday night, taking advantage of the chance to see some of their favorite stars in action without spending the money to travel far from home.
An exhibition game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks sold every seat in Intrust Bank Arena. Many of those seats were occupied by people catching their first live NBA game.
"We bought the tickets earlier this summer," Chuck Reitberger said. "We're looking forward to watching. This is my first NBA game, so we're looking forward to it."
Reitberger may have been getting ready to watch his first NBA game, but it certainly was not the first sporting event he has watched at Intrust Bank Arena, which he says is a great sports venue.
"We came to some of the hockey games last winter and were really, really entertained and we plan on coming to more of those sporting events in the future," he said. "The hockey was really fun."
Still, it was professional basketball that brought fans like Reitberger to Intrust Bank Arena. The experience was complete with a regular season-like atmosphere.
Reasons some first-time fans were in attendance ranged from a chance to see specific players to seeing several of their hardwood heroes.
Kade Adams, attending the game with his father, was excited to see Kevin Durant in person. Carson Ackerman, there with his dad, was looking forward to seeing members of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball team who were also on the rosters of the Mavericks and Thunder.
Arena manager A.J. Boleski said the turnout for Wednesday's exhibition game is further proof Wichita is a community that loves to support basketball.
"We've had great success with Wichita State and K-State here on the collegiate level and now on the NBA level for an exhibition game," he said. "It's a sold out event. Again they showed up."
Boleski says that support will help Intrust Bank Arena land even more basketball events, perhaps even an early round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Of course, a lot of fans waited a long time to see some pro basketball in Wichita. The plan, Boleski said, is to get the Oklahoma City thunder to visit Wichita as often as possible.
"So if that's once a year or every other, we definitely want to have them here," he said. "They're having a great experience."
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Downtown Wichita is the place to be tonight, as the NBA hit town.
In their final preseason game, the Oklahoma City Thunder is taking on the Dallas Mavericks at INTRUST Bank Arena.
The arena is expecting high attendance. Doors opened at 5:30 p.m., and tip-off is at 7 p.m.
"Thunder Alley" will began at 4:30 p.m. on the Cessna Plaza outside Entrance A, and included a merchandise truck, inflatable displays and games.