Isaac Hanson clearly recalls the precise moment when his love for the Oklahoma City Thunder hit its most fervent point.
“We were able to sing the (national) anthem in the Western Conference Finals last year, and it literally just consumed me at that moment,” said the Tulsa singer/musician who is one-third of the sibling trio Hanson.
He and brothers Zac and Taylor got the chance to give their harmonious rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” again May 31 during Game 3 of this year's Western Conference Finals.
“For us, the anthem has always been extraordinarily important and a reverent experience and one that we've always taken really seriously,” Hanson said. “Singing it for the Thunder crowd in Oklahoma, having the team that is doing so well and such a young and vibrant team and then to have a crowd like the Oklahoma crowd ... it was a lot of fun both times, particularly this time.”
As much as he enjoyed his band's opportunities to sing the anthem, Hanson hopes to say he can see some bigger names belting the song when the Thunder's NBA Finals series against the Miami Heat tips off at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
“I think it's pretty great that we've had the opportunity to get so many folks involved,” Hanson said. “But I'm kind of waiting for Miss (Carrie) Underwood and Mr. Vince Gill and maybe a little Reba and Garth while they're at it because we need some country superstardom in there, as well.”
John Leach, the Thunder's director of events and entertainment, declined to reveal what performers will get star-spangled during the Oklahoma City games of the NBA Finals.
“That's going to be a surprise,” he said. “We have a few big names that we're working out right now.”
Once the Thunder clinched an NBA Finals berth, he said Thunder and league officials began working to secure performers.
“We try to showcase Oklahoma talent because we really do feel like there's a lot of talent here,” Leach said. “There are some that we have pursued for many, many years to no avail. I won't mention any names. But a lot of the big names that you think of when you think of Oklahoma — Toby Keith, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, all those people — they're singers but they don't necessarily have the desire to sing the anthem because it's a very difficult song ... and they don't want to be put in the position to execute that song at the expectation that people have.”