Nick Collison left behind friends. Friends and familiarity. Favorite restaurants, a neighborhood he liked and a city he called home. Don't blame Collison for missing Seattle. Don't blame any Thunder ballplayer who might forget to say all the right things about moving to Oklahoma City. We met the new guys Monday. The tall fellows who will run and rebound, dunk and defend, and even occasionally win a game. Seemed a classy bunch. I think you're going to like them. I think they're going to like you. But cut them some slack while they make the adjustment. "I call it bittersweet,” point guard Earl Watson said of the move. "You become a part of the community. You develop friends.” Watson spent four seasons in Seattle. He's a basketball junkie. Knows the hoops heritage he left behind. Even rattled off the names that once made the SuperSonics an NBA institution. Gary Payton, Shawn Kemp, George Karl, Slick Watts, Downtown Freddy Brown. Any person who ever had to move with little say in the manner — be it as kid or adult — should empathize with the Thunder. "Personally, it's an adjustment, leaving a place I loved to be,” Collison said. "You just have to start over. "It's kind of part of your job. When we come to the NBA, we don't have a lot of say in where we're going to be.” But let's be honest. This is a two-way street. If you're one of those fans who would prefer the Hornets had stayed, you can't be mad at any of the Boomers for lamenting leaving Seattle. You can't blame the players for loving Seattle. I spent four days there earlier this month. It's a fabulous city, especially if you've got quite a bit of money, which pro basketball players usually do. The water. The scenery. PikePlace Market. Eating salmon on the pier. OKC has its charms, too, but they're not as obvious. Here in Middle America, places take time to grow on you. But Thunder fever insures that Oklahoma will grow fast on these players. "The city has embraced us,” said Jeff Green. "That's the best part of moving here. That's one of the key things I keep hearing about, the people. I've experienced nothing but the best.” Said Watson, "The people always make a city.” Soon enough, Collison and the gang will take to OKC just fine. And OKC will wonder why it ever wanted the Hornets. Berry Tramel: 760-8080. Radio: Monday through Friday, 4:40-5:20 p.m., Sports Animal network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.