With the game 1 of the playoffs just a few hours away, I thought I’d share my top 5 things that make the love affair of Oklahoma City and their Thunder something truly unique.
5. Airport Greets
OKC fans received national media coverage after the unprompted decision to greet the Thunder at the airport after clinching their first playoff berth during the 2009–2010 season. There have been several airport greets since this one, each one more extravagant than the last, but nothing will ever be as special as the first one.
4. Rise Together
ESPN aired an amazing report on what the Thunder means to Oklahoma City. The impact they’ve had on the community is immeasurable.
3. Kevin Durant
There has never been a superstar like KD and I’d put money on the fact that there won’t be another like him again. He’s certainly on the road to being one of the best players not only of my generation, but of all time, but that’s not what makes Kevin so unique. It’s Kevin Durant as a man that makes him so special. Hard working, well spoken, positive, generous, kind and humble – I’ve never seen anyone with that much talent and money who lacked all sense of entitlement. He sets his own goals and his satisfaction isn’t based on awards. No man will stop him in what he has determined to do and be. I cannot imagine a better role model and we are so very blessed to have him here in OKC.
2. Don’t Mess With Russell
After having a series of off games and becoming public enemy #1 in press coverage for a perceived beef with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook stepped up to the free throw line. At that moment, all 18,302 fans in the arena could feel the weight of the world on our young star’s shoulders. Out of nowhere, the crowd rallied behind the man we have grown to love and chanted “RUSSELL!” I had chills. It was the equivalent of an 18,000 person hug. It won’t be the last undeserved criticism he’ll get, but at least now he knows that the media doesn’t speak for us. He’s ours and we’ve got his back.
A last second shot and that was it. The Lakers ended our first playoff series after six games.
These kids played their hearts out. After a botched non-call that cost the Thunder seeding, meaning they got to take on the #1 Lakers, the Thunder weren’t expected to win. Heck, we weren’t even supposed to make the playoffs for another couple years. Yet, there we were, making the Lakers work. That was incredible. After the buzzer, fans stood and cheered for five straight minutes. It never felt like a defeat. My eyes welled with tears with the pride I had for these men who had become what felt like family to me. They had taken the Lakers to six games – the best anyone would do against them in the entire series. It was a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my life.