Haley Swonger met the man on Craigslist.
They exchanged a couple of text messages before talking on the phone and deciding to meet later that day at a gas station.
The bubbly blond didn't dare tell her family about any of it.
“I just needed this fix,” she said. “I needed an IV drip of Thunder.”
Yep, she said Thunder.
This isn't the opening scene to one of those bad Lifetime movies. It's just another Thunder fan finding out that finding tickets nowadays can be tougher than defending Kevin Durant.
There's no hotter ticket in town.
Swonger went looking for tickets to the Minnesota game last week. She searched some of the online ticket broker sites, but even in the upper deck, there was nothing cheaper than $60. She decided she'd rather watch on TV than pay that much.
But then, she checked Craigslist.
There were several folks selling lower-level tickets for $100 or $200 each, so she texted them and said she'd pay $50 each if they still hadn't sold them. All of them blew her off.
He sent her a picture of the tickets just to prove that he was legit, then they agreed to meet at an OnCue.
“He pulls up,” Swonger remembered, “and this linebacker of a gentleman walks out of the car, and I'm standing there looking up at this huge man.”
Everything worked out great for Swonger, including the game, which the Thunder won in double overtime. But as many Thunder fans know, the hoops she jumped through to find tickets are part of the deal now.
“(Thunder tickets) are definitely harder to get and a little bit more expensive this year,” said Scooter Proctor, a man who should know.
Proctor runs OklahomaTickets.com, a local ticket brokerage website. On Friday afternoon, the site had a little under a hundred tickets available for Sunday's high-noon showdown against the Bulls, but the cheapest ticket was $105.
The location: corner of the upper deck in Row K.
The most expensive ticket was $540, Section 107, Row P.
Those sorts of high-dollar seats may be expected for marquee games, but Proctor says he's seeing high prices, high demand and low inventory for pretty much every Thunder game.
The reasons are many.
For starters, the Thunder has sold more season tickets, so there are fewer tickets floating around. And even though season-ticket holders aren't likely to go to every game, they are selling less of those tickets to ticket brokers or unknown buyers. Someone they know has already called dibs.
“They've got four or five people that have already called — ‘Hey, you going to use your tickets?'” Proctor said.
“School teachers. Nurses. Lawn guys. Everybody's trying to get 'em from them.”
You can understand why. Winning is a major part of the equation, of course. The thing is, it's not only that the Thunder has the best record in the Western Conference and is considered a favorite to go the NBA Finals, but it's also the way that this bunch is winning.
First, the Thunder is winning with good guys. This is a roster filled with players who aren't always popping up on the police blotter, who aren't always pulling antics that make us cringe. That has connected with fans in a place that values doing things the right way.
Second, the Thunder plays an up-and-down, free-and-easy style. These guys score a lot of points. That's fun to watch.
And you know what? They've been known to let the other team to score quite a few points, too. Close games are the norm with this team — how many times have we seen an opponent make a game of it with a massive fourth-quarter run — and while that's probably taken years off Scott Brooks' life, it sure is entertaining.
All of that makes the Thunder a ticket hotter than any other.
Haley Swonger knows that firsthand.
She used to live on the east side of the state, and while she watched the Thunder, she didn't go out of her way for the team. But ever since she moved to Mustang a couple years ago, she felt a connection that has only grown.
“Now, I can't get enough,” she said. “I just love going to Thunder games so much.”
Her gas-station rendezvous with a man she met on Craigslist is ample evidence of that.