It's impossible for me to think about the Oklahoma City Thunder and not think about the Seattle Supersonics but after seeing Thunder games on television, I really wanted to go to one someday.
Well luckily for me, I had an opportunity to go. It was only a 3 hour drive from where I was staying in Texas. No traffic meant that I got to Oklahoma sooner than I thought (pun intended).
I got a chance to look around the city a bit and the first thing I thought was, I totally wouldn't blame Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook if they ever wanted to be traded or left during free agency in the future because there's really not much in OKC. Being from LA, I couldn't imagine ever living in a small city like OKC.
As I drove around, i saw cars with OKC Thunder flags on their cars all over the place. To me this was amazing because here in LA, flags are only seen around playoff time and once the playoffs end, they're nowhere to be found. A major difference between fair-weathered and hardcore fans.
I got to the arena about an hour before tipoff and took some time to look around the arena. They have pictures of all the Thunder players outside of the arena, including the new additions, Kendrick Perkins, Nazr Mohammed and Nate Robinson:
On the inside, they've got banners of every team in the league. Of course, me being the Clipper fan I am, had to take a picture of the Clippers banner, right next to the OKC Thunder elevators:
They also have a bunch of interactive stuff for the kids, materials to make signs and even a live band.
They also have a booth where you can take a free photo with a lifesize cardboard cutout of some of the OKC Thunder players and a booth giving out free shirts, sponsored by the local casino. So much free swag, it's not surprising that the fans support this team like crazy.
I get to my seats (that I purchased last minute) and I look around and see Thunder fans, in their seats early and many of them wearing clothing that had 'OKC Thunder' on it. The whole time I was there, I only saw 1 fan wearing anything with the opposing team's name on it. I'm used to being at Clipper games where half of the crowd is cheering for the other team (well it's less than half now that Blake Griffin has arrived).
The players finish their shootaround and then the intro begins. I was pretty impressed:
The fans remain standing even after the tip. They stand until the team scores. It really gives the place a playoff atmosphere for what is only a regular season game.
The fans stay engaged the entire time, chanting 'DE-FENSE" every time the opposing team has the ball and whoever's job it is to cue the music and soundbytes in the arena is constantly busy because there's always something playing over the speakers.
During timeouts, they're constantly giving away shirts, free pizzas and all kinds of other stuff and they do it in creative ways. At one point, they had shirts falling from the rafters via parachutes:
And of course, 'Thunder' sticks for fans sitting behind the basket:
The game itself was exciting seeing Russell Westbrook driving to the hoop and scoring at will and Kevin Durant seemingly cruising through the game with only 9 points until he decides to turn it up and finish the game with 29. It was incredible.
By the time the 4th quarter rolled around the Thunder had the game in the bag and only some of the fans headed for the exits. The rest of the fans stick around and continue to chant and cheer.
And once the final buzzer sounds, the confetti and streamers fall:
I had a great time at the game and I love visiting new arenas to watch basketball. It was also great to be around true fans who have been selling out the arena even when they started out 2-24 in 2008-09.
So if you're a basketball fan and you have a chance to go see a game in OKC, I highly recommend it. It's a unique sports experience.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been in existence for four years, and they've just won their fourth-ever Conference Championship. They'll be commuting to Miami to play against the Heat. It's an amazing run for the Thunder since they've done so well so fast... Wait... Editor message... The Thunder was formed in 1967? Really? But that means they've actually existed for 45 years! Now, make no mistake: It's truly impressive how fast the Oklahoma City Thunder, AS the Oklahoma City … more
I love basketball, exercise, reading, business, movies and occasionally some brainless reality TV shows =P I am more than happy to help anyone out with anything here on Lunch and definitely looking forward … more
Consider the Source
Use Trust Points to see how much you can rely on this review.