OKC Thunder: Superfan Thundor dreams of a showdown with Shaquille O'Neal

Jenni Carlson talks with the man behind the mask, Garrett Haviland. Haviland tells the story of how he came to bring a megaphone to games, and discusses his idea for a free-throw contest with Shaq.
by Jenni Carlson Published: March 25, 2012
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Do you change up the routine at all?

Sometimes, I'll change my whooping noise. Sometimes, I might just start with a “Miss it!” If I have a history with a player, if they've missed before or they've shown frustration before, then I'll go right at 'em.

Sounds like you keep track of your victims.

I do. One of my favorite things to do is rip my shirt off, but I started burning through so many shirts so fast, I've kind of got to cool that off.

So, on a nationally televised game when you get on the broadcast, do the texts and calls come from all over?

Oh, yeah. It's great. When I was in middle school and I was still really into playing basketball, I always said, “One day, I'll make a half-court shot or something, and I'll be on ESPN.” Well, that never happened. But I got on ESPN for being crazy and being half naked. Either way, I got on there and accomplished a dream.

You mention your shirtlessness. How do you decide what you're going to paint on your chest each game?

I get really good suggestions from friends and fans. My friend Ernie gave me a really good suggestion for my Shaq and Charles pasties. That got me on the TNT postgame show. Now, Shaq has put me on his “Shaqtin' A Fool” episodes twice now. I haven't been able to win because there's some really goofy fools in the NBA.

No doubt about that.

I want to do a free throw contest (with Shaq) — 10 free throws each and we can distract each other. If I make more than him, then he has to donate some money to charity. If he makes more than me, then he can pick my paint job for the next game.

So, for this game against Miami, describe your getup.

I've got a Dwyane Wade pastie. Then, I've got a Chris Bosh pastie. But LeBron's not forgotten. LeBron ...

A picture cutout with Velcro?

He's going ...

On the Velcro on the back of your shorts?

The only problem is the Velcro's not sticking so well, so I have emergency double-sided sticky tape. He will get on there one way or another.

Big picture — what does it mean for you to be part of the scene at The Peake?

To be part of this arena is wonderful. To be one of the well-known ultimate fans in the arena, that's even better. I know that we bring it every game. No matter who we're playing, no matter what's going on, we're always the loudest in the NBA. If I can be the loudest of the loud, then that's even better.

You talk about being the loudest of the loud. How many weird looks to you get for all of this?

I get really strange looks. But once they see me and know I'm coming down there every time, they'll have their camera phones ready. They'll video record me. They'll take pictures. I found some videos of me on YouTube. I'm just another part of the entertainment that the Thunder offer.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
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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