Since that fateful day in 2008, I've spent most of my time trying to forget he exists, while making numerous jokes at the expense of the state of Oklahoma. For example, what does a Thunder fan do when his team wins the NBA Finals?
He turns off the PlayStation 3.
Unfortunately, that joke may have an expiration date. The Thunder are one of the most talented teams in the NBA playoffs, as evidenced by their recent demolition of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in five games. Next up is San Antonio in the Western Conference finals.
The worst part of the NBA postseason isn't that the Thunder continue to work their way through the playoffs. The absolute worst part is that because of this whole situation, I had to root for the Lakers. Words can't describe how dirty I felt last week. I've gone from yelling less-than-polite comments at Bryant during basketball games, to — gulp — cheering when he makes a shot.
I know, I know. I'm ashamed of myself too.
Let's be clear. I didn't go out and buy any Los Angeles paraphernalia. Though, had the Lakers defeated the Thunder, we may have had to talk.
I also didn't rush out to buy a t-shirt unveiled by an Oklahoma City-based company last week — a shirt that's got to be one of the most classless offenses in the history of sports. It mirrored the old Seattle skyline that was used for the Seattle SuperSonics logo, but it was blue and modified to be the scenic Oklahoma City skyline — so there were two buildings and a trailer on it.
On the front it said “OKC Thunder.” On the back, it took the cheapest of shots: “Thank you Seattle – OKC.”
You're welcome Oklahoma City. Enjoy your team. Never mind the fact that it was stolen in what can only be described as grand theft franchise — which, in my humble opinion, should be a felony.
This is a family newspaper, so I can't tell Oklahomans where they can put that t-shirt, but I will say that I never actually despised or blamed the fans of the Thunder, until I saw the shirt. It's since been taken off the company's website, but the damage has been done.
Now I have to become the World's Biggest San Antonio Spurs Fan, which I'm OK with. I feel much better about this than my previous option. I like San Antonio. When I went there for last year's Alamo Bowl between the Washington Huskies and the Baylor Robert Griffins, I had a great time — despite the game's final score.
Again, I'm in no rush to buy a Tim Duncan jersey, but if the Spurs take down Durant and Co., we'll talk.
The Spurs have won eight straight playoff games this year. Moral of the story: There's hope.
I know some people in Washington still like the Thunder. They feel that since we had Durant, it's OK to follow him to Oklahoma. I understand that feeling. I just can't agree with it.
I feel more like I had a long-distance relationship with the Thunder. We didn't get to see each other every day, but I still checked up once in a while to make sure they were doing well.
Unfortunately, nearly everyone will tell you long-distance relationships don't work out. Eventually the connection dies. After pretending for a while that everything's fine, you just let it go and break up.
And find a rebound team. Since I was born in North Dakota, I went with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
I'm never going to get past the robbery that took place July 2, 2008. I hope there's a curse on the Thunder. A heavy duty curse. Like the Curse of the Bambino, only stronger. The Curse of the Sasquatch? OK, the title still needs some work.
I want Clay Bennett to suffer a championship drought, the likes of which the world has never seen. I guess it won't matter, though, because of the shared history the Thunder have with the Sonics. Our championship (1979) is their championship. Our scoring leader (Gary Payton) is their scoring leader.
So let's do what we can: rally behind the Spurs. Let's become Little San Antonio. Let's belt out a Thunder joke that will always be a classic, although I pray it never comes true.
What do you call an Oklahoma City Thunder owner with an NBA championship ring?
David Krueger covers high school sports for The Everett Herald, when he isn't
driving down to Portland to watch some NBA action. Every once in a while (usually around this time of year) he still cries himself to sleep. He can be contacted/consoled at email@example.com.
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