Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City

The Oklahoma City Thunder and the city of Oklahoma City, Okla., have experienced winning on the court far earlier than anyone ever expected. For the team and city, however, taking advantage of the squad’s deep playoff runs and high expectations this season is merely building the foundation of a long-term brand.

In 2008-09, the franchise’s first season since moving from Seattle, the Thunder won just 23 of 82 games. Four years later, th...

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