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Citizen Potawatomi Nation debuts pro basketball team Potawatomi Fire

The logo for Citizen Potawatomi's new pro basketball team
The logo for Citizen Potawatomi's new pro basketball team

Oklahoma City Thunder: watch out for the Potawatomi Fire. That's the new professional basketball team in the state, and it's owned by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation.

This is the first time an Oklahoma tribal nation has owned a professional sports team, and its home will be at the FireLake Arena in Shawnee.

The tribal nation and the city of Shawnee say the new sports team will bring jobs and entertainment dollars to the area, while appeasing basketball fans who may not be able to make it to an OKC Thunder game.

Derrick Rowland, the head coach of the Fire, is a former State University of New York at Potsdam star and NBA player. Rowland most recently coached the Albany Patroons to the 2019 TBL championship.

"Fans are going to love this brand of basketball. The players who will fill the Potawatomi Fire roster are young men who live and breathe basketball, and that passion will show through every night we play," said Rowland in a statement.

Potawatomi Fire is a part of The Basketball League, a minor league basketball organization, and will play their first home game in 2022.

“We are very excited to bring professional sports to Shawnee,” said John “Rocky” Barrett, CPN Tribal Chairman. “The families and sports fans who live in the area deserve high-quality, affordable entertainment, and we are sure the community will come out to support their team.”

The Fire's schedule includes 12 home games in the FireLake Arena.

Recently, the city of Shawnee and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation announced Shawnee Aligned, a new initiative to bring economic development and better infrastructure to the area. This came after the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and the city of Shawnee ended a decades long fight over land along the North Canadian River.

Allison Herrera covered Indigenous Affairs for KOSU from April 2020 to November 2023.
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