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Jenni Carlson: Head of Thunder class is leaving town

by Jenni Carlson Modified: May 25, 2010 at 10:38 am •  Published: May 25, 2010
The Thunder is losing its best role player.

Brick Man is leaving town.

In an NBA arena that’s become known for its dressed-up, amped-up super fans, none is more well-known than Brick Man. His giant brick head and his front-row seat make him one of the most visible fans at the Ford Center.

He first appeared when the Hornets fled the floods in New Orleans, then re-emerged when the Thunder made this its permanent home.

Derrick Seys is the man behind the persona, and when he’s not playing the role of Brick Man, he’s working as an aeronautical engineer. He recently accepted a new job, and his family will be moving from Oklahoma to Illinois later this summer.

"We got traded,” Seys deadpanned.

Can Oklahoma City’s original super fan really leave town?

Seys wasn’t so sure.

"The hardest thing about all of it,” he said, "is leaving the basketball team.”

You have to understand that when Seys and his wife, Anne, moved to Oklahoma several years ago, they had no family here. No roots. No ties. They made friends and built connections, but in this sportscentric state, they struggled to cement those bonds because they didn’t have a rooting interest. They weren’t Sooners. They weren’t Cowboys.

Then, the Hornets came to town.

Seys grew up a basketball fan in Illinois. When the Hornets drafted Kendall Gill, an Illinois alum, Seys began following them. So when the team landed in his back yard here, he jumped at the opportunity to be a part.

He was No. 28 on the initial season-tickets waiting list, which helped him score a pair of prime front-row tickets in the south end near the visitor’s bench.

Still, Seys didn’t become Brick Man until late that season when the Lakers came to town. Kobe Bryant was coming off an 81-point game, and Seys wanted to do something to try and keep the Los Angeles superstar from a career night.

Kobe scored 35 points, the Hornets won, and Brick Man was born.

He helped birth the super fan craze at the Ford Center. Now, there are nearly two dozen fans who regularly dress in costume for games.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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