Savannah Buck grew up in a basketball-loving family in Oklahoma City. She played as kid, then decided to become a manager for the high school team so she could stay around the game.
But when the Thunder came to town, she couldn't have cared less.
“I just never got into the NBA,” she said.
The first season that the team was in town, she didn't watch any games. Not one. She had seen the Hornets come and go. She figured the Thunder would do the same.
But during the second season, Buck decided to watch a game on TV.
She liked what she saw so much that she got tickets to the next home game.
She's been hooked ever since.
Her interest at first was mostly in Kevin Durant — “I have the hugest crush on him,” she admitted — but it didn't take her long to fall in love with the entire team.
“I just love how they play,” she said. “I love how much they love the city. That made me love them even more.”
Buck has taken her love to Northeastern State in Tahlequah where she is a sophomore. For starters, she observes “Thunder Shirt Thursdays.” She started it a couple years ago with a friend.
“One day when it's famous,” she said, “we'd better have a trademark for it.”
Still, her Thunder passion is no joke. The cable company in Tahlequah doesn't always broadcast the games, so Buck will make the 40-minute drive to Muskogee to watch.
And then sometimes, she will make the nearly three-hour trek back to Oklahoma City to attend a game. Last season, she entered the ticket drawing in Thunder Alley and was selected 15 or 16 times.
“Everybody knows me at my school ... as the Thunder girl,” Buck said. “Even the guys ... will come up and ask me, ‘How did the boys do last night?'”
If they didn't do so well, Buck is gets cranky.
When the Thunder got bounced from the playoffs last year, she had nine voicemails from people checking on her to make sure she was OK.
She was ... eventually.
“I bleed blue and orange.”