OKC Thunder: Orlando’s Walt Disney World gains edge to host NBA games

OKC Thunder may be headed to ORLANDO, FL and Walt Disney World. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
OKC Thunder may be headed to ORLANDO, FL and Walt Disney World. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder players are returning to the Ion for workouts but may soon be in need of mouse ears.

On Monday the OKC Thunder re-opened the doors to their practice facility the Thunder Ion becoming the 17th NBA to do so. It’s expected the majority of teams will have their facilities opened by week’s end although the New York teams won’t be among them given their continuing stay-at-home mandate.

Still, this development leans toward the season resuming and on Wednesday, Orlando took a step up as the preferred venue for the college campus setting if the NBA were to only select one venue.

Over a month ago, friend Keith Smith suggested Walt Disney World as the perfect site for the NBA to isolate teams and he’s looking like a bit of a sage at the moment given this update.

OKC Thunder and NBA may finish the season in Orlando:

Although the NBA continues to look at a few sites with Las Vegas the other main option it makes sense why Orlando has pushed to the front of the pack.

Unlike Vegas, there aren’t as many diversions to be concerned with at Walt Disney World. Another factor giving WDW a leg up is Disney owns ESPN and given their affiliation with the NBA that bodes well for the house that Mickey Mouse built.

Adding further precedence to the Orlando site is another logical tie based on existing relationships. That would be the trio of Executive Chairman of Disney – Bob Iger, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and NBPA President (and OKC Thunder captain) Chris Paul.

The sheer size of the WDW resort and the ability to isolate the players in a specific area also make it an attractive selection. Keith Smith has offered copious tweets detailing all things Disney, with the following a great visual of precisely how large WDW is.

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Smith also notes, WDW Coronado Springs, the main convention hotel, hasn’t been booked (on purpose) for the month of July. He notes it features over 220,000 square feet of convention space which can be repurposed for whatever needs the NBA may have such as practice facilities or meeting space.

In the interim, there are still many hurdles to clear but practice facilities opening and seemingly daily updates definitely are signs things are moving toward play resuming.

To that end, nine days ago Adam Silver stated he expected to make a decision on the season within two to four weeks. These updates and the momentum clearly shifting to a return seem to align with this timeline. Sticking with the two to four week timeframe fans should expect this to occur between May 27th and June 10th.

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