Resentment doesn't reside on Reno Ave.
Not in Oklahoma City. Not in the heart of Thunder territory.
No, this NBA lockout hasn't broken hearts around here.
The love affair with the National Basketball Association is alive and well.
Sad and selfish were more the operative words for fans attending Kevin Durant's All-Star showcase Sunday night. Those were the words many used to describe their feelings and view of the NBA lockout.
“I think they're both kind of selfish,” said Sam Wallace, 46, of Ardmore. “They're leaving the fan out in the cold.”
In many cities, fans with opinions like Wallace's would and perhaps already have boycotted NBA ball. That's not the case in OKC, where after three seasons fans were just getting attached to NBA action before the labor dispute set in.
Wallace is a prime example. He bought six tickets the day they went on sale last week. Five remained in his pocket as he snapped pre-game photos of the All-Stars from the first row of the lower bowl. His family couldn't attend because his boys had football practice.
Clearly, the passion for pro ball remains. A crowd of 13,000, many decked in Thunder blue T-shirts and jerseys, packed the Cox Convention Center to get a glimpse of members of the team that made a surprising trek to the Western Conference Finals last season.
The presence of LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul was just icing on the cake.
“I don't know what I'm going to do if it drags on,” said Glenda Love, 68, of Oklahoma City. “I am so hungry and so ready for NBA basketball, I've been watching the NBA channel and watching 1993 playoff games.”
Love and her adult daughter, Angela, have held season tickets each year. As Love said, they plan their lives around the season. The two took a graduation card to Sunday's game intent on giving it to former Thunder forward Jeff Green. It was revoked from Green's hands when Green informed Angela he has yet to graduate from Georgetown.
“It's like you have more mothers when you play here,” Love said.
While ticket holders like Love are saving money (and actually collecting interest) during this lockout, arena employees are losing it.
Sunday's game was the first event many of SMG's 700-some odd part timers have worked since the playoffs ended for the Thunder in May. They've been the real losers in all this. Them and their families.
To some, the job is a hobby. To many, it's a lifeline they depend on for additional income.
While the pay isn't great, it comes only when hours are worked. With the Thunder having lost two preseason games, and another two regular season games already announced as canceled, there's no recouping that coin. As one arena usher said Sunday, “I'm in the broke house.”
The sad thing was it was unclear just how serious the usher was.
Hope is all that fans, arena employees and players shared Sunday night. Hope that this labor dispute would somehow find a quick resolution. Hope that, soon, they all could get back to enjoying the game they love.
“We love our teams so much that we will be here,” said Love.