It’s easy being an Oklahoma City Thunder fan because it sort of comes naturally. Oklahoma is a state with a strong connection to sports, and Oklahomans have a certain sense of loyalty about them that they take seriously.
Thunder Nation has come a long way, but the trip wasn’t all fun and games. It was also educational.
As the team grew, so did members of the nation. And along the way, you have all learned a few things. Things like…
5. You find a common ground in a divided sports state
Sports fans in Oklahoma can usually be described one of two ways: either as a Sooner, or as a Cowboy. It’s no secret that the dominant sport in the state is college football, and with good reason. Its history is long, the feuds epic and the fans committed.
But when the college football games are over and everything is left on the field, Oklahomans tend to put aside their differences, don some blue and white, and get Thunderstruck.
The Thunder has been in Oklahoma for nearly five years now, and the organization’s fandom hasn’t died down one ounce. And it’s not just because basketball season is “what people turn to when football season is over and out” — it’s because everyone can rally behind one team. Hence the terms One Thunder, Thunder Pride, Team is Oklahoma, Team is Community, Blue Alliance and We Are One. Every single fan fits into those descriptors, and every single fan embraces it wholeheartedly.
And the honest truth is the Thunder organization has done a fantastic job of realizing what they have in their fans and, in turn, gives their fans plenty of ways to express their sense of pride in the Thunder Nation.
Which, I think, gets noticed around the globe. And, because of that…
4. No one hates you because everyone loves the Thunder
I got married in June 2012, during the NBA Finals between the Thunder and the Miami Heat. Moreover, I got married and honeymooned at Walt Disney World, which is near Orlando, Fla. Yeah, it isn’t Miami, but it’s close enough, so you might think you know where this is headed.
Of course, the wife and I took some Thunderwear along: lanyards, a couple hats and some T-shirts. I was wearing Thunder gear almost daily, because I wanted to represent my home team while I was away from the state.
And one thing that surprised me was how many people expressed how much they love the Thunder.
People would come up and tell us how they wanted to see the Thunder win the NBA Championship. They came up to us to exclaim their adoration for, literally, every team member, including coach Scott Brooks.
People would yell “Thunder Up!” if they weren’t close enough to say anything else. And, you wouldn’t believe how many people we saw at Disney World wearing Thunder shirts. Naturally, we went up to ask what part of Oklahoma they were from — to our surprise, most of them weren’t from Oklahoma.
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