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NYT: Leaving Detroit for Tulsa, the Shock Lost Their Way

TULSA, Okla. — Once, it seemed an intriguing idea for prefab success, dismantling a three-time W.N.B.A. championship team in Detroit and relocating it brick by brick to this regional hotbed for women’s basketball. The Tulsa Shock planned to be relentless and hounding as they opened play in 2010. The coach and general manager, Nolan Richardson, was a local favorite. He had never coached women or professionals. But he had won the National Invitation Tournament with the University of Tulsa in 1981 and an N.C.A.A. title with Arkansas in 1994. His drag-strip, trapping style, known as 40 minutes of hell, had been attractively and disruptively frenetic. Anticipating her blistering speed in a frenzied system, Richardson signed the disgraced sprinter Marion Jones. She had won an N.C.A.A. basketball title at North Carolina in 1994. This would give Jones a chance to resume her athletic life after she lost her Olympic gold medals, and even her freedom for a time, in the fallout from a doping scandal. Instead, Tulsa’s ambitious experiment failed. Richardson is gone. Jones is gone. Several indispensable stars from Detroit never arrived. One of the league’s greats, Sheryl Swoopes, resumed her W.N.B.A. career with Tulsa this season, but there is only so far that 40-year-old shoulders and knees can carry an overmatched team. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/05/sports/basketball/trading-detroit-for-tulsa-wnbas-shock-lost-their-way.html?hp
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