With a young core and smart management providing a chance for lasting success, there's a good chance this isn't the last time the NBA Finals will be here.
And the Heat might be one of the teams coming back.
"Everybody's saying it's a dream Finals," Miami's Chris Bosh said Thursday before Game 2, which ended too late for this edition. "I was like, dang, let's keep it going, give the people what they want to see."
It's not quite that simple.
Tough decisions will have to be made - tougher now, with new spending rules - and players who seem content in this quiet city now may feel otherwise in a few years. So the Thunder, who took a one-game lead into Thursday night, weren't counting on another chance if they didn't take advantage of this one.
"We can't think too far down the line," Durant said. "Of course, everybody else is going to think that since we're a young team. But we don't want to use that and say that we can give this one away because we're going to be there in the long run."
Oklahoma, previously known mostly as home to big-time college programs when it came to sports, wanted to have the professional game in its capital city, and NBA commissioner David Stern remembers the first time Mayor Mick Cornett approached him about bringing a team here.
"I said, 'You really ought to pursue another league,' " Stern said.
But the commissioner was impressed with all the construction being done within the city and its recovery from the 1995 terrorist bombing at a federal building. And when the Hornets needed a place to go after their city's tragedy, Stern recommended Oklahoma City to former Hornets owner George Shinn.
The Hornets departed after a two-year stay, but the NBA was back two years later after owner Clay Bennett moved the Seattle SuperSonics to his home state. General manager Sam Presti constructed a contender through the draft, with Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and Serge Ibaka all 23 or younger.
The Heat have gone another route, aiming for free agency in 2010 and coming out a big winner, signing LeBron James and Bosh while keeping Dwyane Wade. They have reached both NBA Finals since.
Hornets sale OK'd. The NBA said that the league's board of governors had voted to approve the sale of the Hornets to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson.