Will rest of NBA follow in OKC’s conservative footsteps?

General view of Oklahoma City Thunder home arena (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
General view of Oklahoma City Thunder home arena (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The Oklahoma City Thunder will put fans, players first in their attempt to keep a safe atmosphere at games. 

The Oklahoma City Thunder have become another team in the association to require fans to be partiality or fully vaccinated, or show a negative COVID-19 test in order to attend a game. Additionally, children in attendance between the ages of 2-11 will be required to be masked at all times, except when eating or drinking.

OKC deserves high praise for the decision, given the way the mandates could be viewed within the state. Dating back to the beginning of the pandemic, the Thunder have historically been very cautious.

They were the only team to not allow fans in the stands for the entire 2020-21 season and they also went the entire year without having a single player or coach test positive for the COVID-19.

Why these restrictions were necessary and will not impact the experience

These small requirements will not hamper your experience. In fact, they should enhance it by giving fans peace of mind. If these precautions do what they are put in place to prevent, they should keep fans happy, healthy, and coming back to the Paycom Center all season long.

Remember, even with these mandates in place, your game day experience will still look the same. On court MC Malcolm Tubbs will still be in the building hyping the crowd, the Thunder drummers will still be banging their drums and setting the tone, and the Storm Chasers will still be running loose and starting chants.

Before anyone panics and says they will not be attending a single game this season, as of right now these restrictions are not season-long, they have been put in place for the first 12 games of the 2021-22 season and will run through November 26, 2021.

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It’ll be interesting to see if the majority of other NBA organizations adopt these policies in taking a more proactive approach during the pandemic. Perhaps the Thunder are a franchise to watch as the season unwinds. After all, they’ve been one of the most conservative franchises in the league since the start of the pandemic.