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. Thunderhead. Princess. Thunderman. Little Boy Blue. Thundor. Brick Man was the original. Seys has only missed a handful of NBA games in OKC. Some have been because of work. Travel is always part of the gig as an aeronautical engineer, but the number of trips he’s taken overseas has ballooned in recent years. So has the length of the trips. Seys had to hurry home from Iraq to make the Dallas game in December. Still, he had no plans to change jobs. "I had already renewed our season tickets,” Seys said. Then, he got a call from the airport in his hometown of Moline, Ill. They had an opening, and Seys had the qualifications. Being from a big family, he had the desire to be closer to brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews as well. The opportunity was too good to pass up. Yet, Derrick and Anne wondered what to do about the Thunder. "Well,” they decided, "we’ll just work it out.” They expect to come back for 10 to 12 games next season. The home opener is a for-sure, but they’ll wait for the schedule to come out this summer to make plans for the rest of the season. They’ll target two-game weekends and extended home stands to maximize the number of games they attend. Seys also plans to subscribe to the NBA League Pass so he can see the TV broadcasts. He might travel to Chicago, Milwaukee and even Indianapolis to see the Thunder, too. "Because we saw it from when it started here, I think we have a real personal interest, Seys said. "If we can get to 10 games in a year, that’s pretty good for us. It gets us our fix. "We’ll be back.” While the Ford Center won’t be the same without the Brick Man, it wouldn’t have become the rowdy, raucous arena that it is without him, either. This role player is leaving quite a legacy.