For as long as the Oklahoma City Thunder has existed, you have been here. As a kid growing up in Oklahoma City, I never dreamed that we would have a team of our own. I loved Kobe Bryant, so I was a Lakers fan by proxy, but when you, KD, and the Thunder arrived in town, my loyalties with the purple and gold did not last for long.
For years, Kevin Durant was my favorite player, but you were a close second. He was the clear leader of the team in my mind, and I thought that when it came down to it, he was the best decision maker. Then July 4, 2016, happened, and I realized that you were actually who I thought he was all along.
It didn’t take long for me to start collecting a jersey and a slew of t-shirts with your name on them. Anytime anyone had anything bad to say about you, I ran to your aid like you were family because in Oklahoma City that name means family.
I’ve spent countless hours arguing in your favor as the league’s top point guard, and I still believe you have a lot of quality years left in the NBA. As soon as Paul George demanded and received his trade to the Clippers, I knew it was the beginning of the end. A lot of people seem to think that you have been holding the franchise hostage for a while now, but in reality, it’s probably been the other way around. We tried to build a contender around you, and the plan failed, and now you’re getting what you deserve: a real chance at winning an NBA title.
We had our chances. I’ll never forget the run in 2012. Even though the NBA season was shortened by the lockout, it was one of my favorites. Despite losing to Lebron and the Miami Heat in the Finals, I knew we had something special.
Things did not go according to plan as James Harden was traded to Houston shortly after, but we still had our chances over the years, and injuries aside, we probably could have come up with a few rings. But, we didn’t, and now you’ve got a chance to get what you deserve with the Rockets. I won’t be cheering for them, but I will be cheering for you.
No matter how the rest of your career goes, I hope you look back at the 405 with a fondness as you will forever be engrained in our hearts as the hero that we did not deserve but that we desperately needed. Good luck in Houston.
(Cover photo by Loud City Photography)
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