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Oklahoma City Thunder fans connect to share support for their team

The Thunder Blue Alliance is a statewide community of Thunder fans who organize watch parties in their hometowns, support community events and connect with fellow Thunder fans through social media platforms.
Oklahoman Modified: January 19, 2013 at 12:09 am •  Published: January 20, 2013

The Oklahoma City Thunder pushed the ball up the court. Lisa Warren bounced her 3-month-old grandson, Easton Crain, on her right hip.

Kevin Durant fired to Hasheem Thabeet along the baseline. Warren bounced Easton faster.

Thabeet rattled the rim with a dunk. Even faster on the bounce and Easton was loving it.

In about a month, Warren will have knee replacement surgery on her knee — her right knee. But that never crossed her mind. Warren is the Oklahoma City Thunder's Blue Alliance captain for the Yukon chapter. And on this particular night, she was hosting a watch party at Louie's in Yukon. And at this particular moment, it was Warren who was watching replays of the Thunder's game against Portland, while waiting for the tipoff of Oklahoma City versus Phoenix. It was the Thunder, not the knee, that mattered most to this devout fan.

The Thunder Blue Alliance is a statewide community of Thunder fans who organize watch parties in their hometowns, support community events and connect with fellow Thunder fans through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The Blue Alliance is the Thunder organization's collection of ambassadors who spread passion for the Thunder through chapters in more than 100 communities in the state. Those chapters consist of roughly 10,000 members in more than 50 counties.

They are led by those such as Warren in Yukon and Shirley Graham, captain for the Tulsa chapter of the Blue Alliance.

Thunder blue

When Warren started her Blue Alliance Facebook page, she had about 30 friends and family she automatically joined up.

“That was in the beginning,” she said as watch party attendees began to dig into the nachos, tacos and pizzas they each had ordered. “This is now our third season of being captains and I am at 191 members in my chapter. I do have one member in Germany.

“Before the playoffs last year, we were hovering between 125 and 130 members. As soon as the playoffs hit, I added about 30 members immediately. And then at the end of the season, I looked and we were at about 190.”

Warren, 53, is a secretary in the education department at Mardel corporate office by day, but a Thunder fan day and night. Roughly an hour before the game against the Phoenix Suns, she walked through a door wearing her blue Thunder jacket and carrying a big blue tote. Quickly she began to pull from it a Thunder banner, the chapter's banner and a box of 18 orange clappers. But that's just a sampling of her stash.

Also within are numerous prizes she hands out during the party. Most of these are purchased with her own money. She watches different stores for sales and picks up items here and there to give those who attend. Some nights she gives them away to winners of a trivia contest. On this night, she wrote what the prize was on a little ball and then tossed a few of those into the gathering of about 20 fans.

Someone else walked over to the tote, pulled out a small Thunder banner, and then in a room full of photos of coaches and athletes, proceeded to walk to photo of the Dallas Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki and taped it over the picture.

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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