Jake Keel of Mustang and Dalton Miller of Hinton are Thunder buddies. Not like actor Mark Wahlberg and his teddy bear, who in the movie “TED” cope with their fear of thunder by cuddling in bed during storms and singing an obscene “Thunder buddies” song.
But Keel and Miller have costumes that are takeoffs on the movie. They dress up in matching “Thunder buddy” T-shirts, wigs, caps and — in some cases — women's running shorts for Thunder games. They show up early in Thunder Alley hoping for a chance to win or buy upper-deck tickets in Loud City. “Worked for Game 1,” said Keel, looking like some combination of Thor, God of Thunder, and a flamboyant professional wrestler.
What do their friends and family think of their get-ups?
“Actually I'm wearing my girlfriend's shorts,” Miller said.
“My mother helped me make my cape,” said Keel. “The last game (my family) tried to act like they were embarrassed, but they actually like it.”
HARD CORE FOR HARDEN
Caroline Russell stood motionless with her homemade sign held above her head.
“Still love ya James” it read.
The 11-year-old arrived at the arena early in hopes that Thunder-standout-turned-Rocket-star James Harden would see her sign.
“I was mad that James Harden left the team,” she said.
A basketball player for her fifth-grade team at All Saints School, Caroline always liked Harden, but when a Metta World Peace elbow gave him a concussion, she felt bad for him. That took her fandom to a whole other level.
So, she decided to let Harden know how she felt about him with a sign made with the help of her dad, Pat, and mom, Kristin.
As Caroline held up her sign, Harden warmed up on the opposite end of the floor. An arena usher caught his eye and pointed him in the direction of the sign.
Caroline jumped up and down.
BEDLAM AT THE PEAKE
Former Oklahoma coach and current Houston assistant Kelvin Sampson was helping players warm up more than an hour before tipoff when he heard a familiar voice.
The voice: Bedlam rival Eddie Sutton.
The former Oklahoma State coach was in attendance with son Sean, who also coached the Cowboys.