Thunder bandwagon: The newcomer's guide to OKC's team

So you've just caught Thunder fever and want to sound like a pro? Here's some things you need to know.
by Jenni Carlson Published: June 8, 2012
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THABO SEFOLOSHA

Position: Shooting guard

Role: Defensive specialist

1. The first and only Swiss-born player in the NBA.

2. His mother, Christine, is a nationally known artist in Switzerland. An abstract painter, she has staged art shows in New York, Chicago, Paris and Oklahoma City.

3. His international connections go beyond his mom. His father, Patrick, is from South African, where he a musician and author. His wife, Bertille, was born in Cameroon and raised in France.

JAMES HARDEN

Position: Reserve guard

Role: Sixth starter

1. Known for his beard. He only had a goatee when he started college, but two years later when he left Arizona State for the NBA, he was in all-out lumberjack mode. The Beard has become a phenomenon, sparking T-shirts and fake-bearded look-a-likes.

2. Sported a bow tie on draft night and on the day he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year earlier this season.

3. For all the big shots he's made, many people know him best for the shot he endured earlier this season. Harden took an elbow to the side of the head from Laker enforcer Ron Artest late in the regular season. It led to a concussion for Harden and a seven-game suspension for Artest.

SCOTT BROOKS

Position: Coach

Role: Encourager

1. Wears three woven bracelets on his right wrist. There is one each for wife, Sherry, son, Chance and daughter, Lexi.

2. Raised in Lathrop, Calif., a small town about an hour from the Bay Area, he was the youngest of seven children and the son of a single mother, Lee. She worked 12 hours a day, six days a week building automotive parts, then worked the harvest to make extra money. She would take all the kids into the fields where they picked walnuts or topped onions.

3. Played 11 seasons in the NBA despite being only 5-foot-11. Known as a smart, hard-nosed player, he won an NBA title with the 1994 Houston Rockets.

NICK COLLISON

Position: Reserve big man

Role: Glue guy

1. Known for taking charges. Collison ranks second in the NBA this season for charges taken, a distinction that requires him to stand his ground against driving opponents and take the brunt of the collision.

2. One of only two current Thunder players to have played for the Sonics when the franchise was still in Seattle. He still has a home there.

3. Wrote a guest blog this season for GQ. Among the dry-witted revelations: Collison and teammate/buddy Royal Ivey want to make an RV road trip from Collison's hometown of Iowa Falls, Iowa, to Ivey's hometown of Queens, N.Y., and Collison believes rookie Reggie Jackson would be his first teammate to die in a zombie apocalypse because Jackson falls asleep at the drop of a hat.

DEREK FISHER

Position: Reserve point guard

Role: Resident champion

1. Won five NBA titles while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers.

2. Brought a load of postseason experience to Oklahoma City after being traded by Los Angeles. The Lakers sent him to the Houston Rockets earlier this season, despite protests from friend and team leader Kobe Bryant, and Fisher and the Rockets negotiated a buyout so he could sign with a team of his choosing. It came down to the Thunder and the Heat, and Fisher picked Oklahoma City.

3. President of the NBA Players Association. He was front and center during the lockout negotiations before this season, then late in the regular season, he became locked in a power struggle with the union's longtime executive director Billy Hunter.

CHESAPEAKE ENERGY ARENA

Position: Thunder's home arena

Role: Rowdiest arena in the NBA

1. Known by the cool kids as The Peake.

2. Site of 64 consecutive sellouts for the Thunder. That streak dates back to Feb. 22, 2011.

3. Home of Rumble, the Thunder's mascot. The furry fellow has become a fan favorite with his skits and dunks and antics. He has been known to hit behind-the-back halfcourt shots and rappel onto the court from the rafters.

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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