Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Clayton Bennett, Man Of The Year

Illustration for article titled Clayton Bennett, Man Of The Year

Merry Christmas, Seattle! Here's one more bow on the big crap-filled present that was 2008. It the gift that keeps on giving.


This press release we received from Oklahoma Today magazine is filled with all kinds of hilarious, bitter pain for anyone who used to enjoy basketball in Seattle. It's about their cover story on Oklahoman of the Year Clay Bennett. You see, "people respect Clay" because he had the "resourcefulness, tenacity, and acumen" to bring Oklahoma a professional basketball team—one that is "considered one of the youngest team in the NBA." Is it?!

Best of all, the NBA loves this guy! Not as much as Oklahoma does, but gosh darn it, this guy is just so fucking awesome and no one anywhere in the world could possibly have anything bad to say about Clayton I. Bennett.

By the way, if you happen to know any Sonics fans, you might want to hold on to their shoelaces for a little while longer.


OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Today, the magazine of Oklahoma since 1956, has named chairman of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Clayton I. Bennett, Oklahoman of the Year for 2008. The feature story on Bennett, written by senior editor Steffie Corcoran, appears in the January/February 2009 issue.

Bennett, founder of the private investment firm, Dorchester Capital, is touted as the man who brought the NBA to Oklahoma. He leads a group of eight investors, all from Oklahoma City, who form Professional Basketball Club, LLC. The team played its first Oklahoma City game on October 29, 2008, after relocating from Seattle. Today, the team plays at the Ford Center in downtown Oklahoma City and is considered one of the youngest team in the NBA.

“No one came close to Clay Bennett as we set about selecting this year’s Oklahoman of the Year,” says Louisa McCune-Elmore, Oklahoma Today editor in chief. “His accomplishment presents an extraordinary moment in the life of Oklahoma, probably among the most important achievements in our capital city’s history.”

Those who know him best describe Bennett as a man of action. “People respect Clay,” says former Oklahoma City mayor Ron Norick. “When Clay is involved, things are going to happen.” Bennett grew up in Oklahoma City, graduated from Casady School in 1978, and married his high-school sweetheart, Louise Gaylord, in 1981.

Bennett’s respect for hard work and his civic involvement have garnered this Oklahoman of the Year great regard from his peers, both locally and in the wider community of the NBA. “I feel confident about the good hands the [Thunder] is in,” says NBA commissioner David Stern, “because they’re in Clay’s hands and in the hands of his investor group.”

The NBA may be happy about the team’s move to Oklahoma, but no one is as thrilled as Oklahomans. The NBA is considered the largest global sports brand. “An NBA franchise is an obvious economic boom, but just as important is what it does for the momentum and morale of Oklahoma,” says Governor Brad Henry.

“What I like most about this article and accompanying photos is its thorough review of the Thunder relocation, but also its insights into Clay’s unwavering commitment to his hometown, state, and especially his family,” says Hardy Watkins, executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “It’s a real portrait.”

Oklahoma Today publisher Joan Henderson says, “The year 2008 was an eventful year in Oklahoma, but nothing seemed as potentially transformative as the birth of the Thunder franchise in Oklahoma City.”

“Clay Bennett had the resourcefulness, tenacity, and acumen to make that dream a reality,” says Governor Henry.

Subscribers begin receiving the issue today. The issue will hit newsstands regionally on January 2. Please contact Louisa McCune-Elmore at [redacted] for more information.