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Fans call Oklahoma City 'our boys'

The team's fans talk about how they consider Oklahoma City Thunder part of their families.
by Bryan Painter Published: June 22, 2012

All three own James Harden “Fear the Beard” T-shirts.

All three are widows.

All three consider the Oklahoma City Thunder to be “our boys.”

“You don't want to talk bad around us about our Thunder,” said Sheila Copeland, 68, of Oklahoma City. “I feel like I'm a mother bird with 15 kids and I love them all.”

Annette Anthony, 66, of Del City also considers this team to be like her sons.

“They're as loyal as they can be and I am too,” she said. “I don't like them picked on. Tell the truth, but don't slam them, not when they're out there playing their hearts out for us.”

Guila Shell, 88, of Oklahoma City, counts them as family, but not sons. Take it one more generation.

“They are a bunch of boys, young enough to be my grandchildren,” Shell said. “I have to tell you, my birthday is May 2, the same as Thabo Sefolosha.

“Of course it's not the same year; same day but not the same year.”

Shell was born in 1924, and Sefolosha in 1984.

If you go by enthusiasm Shell's not that much older than a team in which six of the 15 are 22 or 23 years old.

“I'm having fun,” she said, while wearing her foam James Harden beard and sipping water from a blue Thunder cup. “I watch the games on my TV at home. I sit in my recliner with my blanket over my knees.

“I'm trying to think if I ever fell asleep. It seems to me I did one time, toward the end of a game, but it wasn't because I was bored with the way they were playing. It was because they were so far ahead. That's the best problem.”

Respect for growth

All three women are well aware that these players have their own parents. In fact, these fans admire the way they have seen players treat their families. But these fans have adopted the young men — if not on paper, at least in heart.

Anthony taught elementary school for 27 years and still tutors in reading two days a week.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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