The sights and sounds of the Oklahoma City Thunder's 2010 playoff run created memories that will last a lifetime.
Throughout Oklahoma City, thousands of Thunder flags hung from car windows, flapping in the wind day and night. More than 18,000 fans united at home games, proudly pulling white or blue T-shirts over their heads with the inscription "Let's Go Thunder" imprinted on the fronts.
Boisterous Ford Center crowds bellowed chants of "Beat L.A."
And then there were the highlights on the court: Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka taking turns providing pivotal plays.
What sprouted more than anything by the end of that two-week run was a special kinship between city and ballclub.
Thunder mania had swept this state, proving that there was indeed a new game in town and it was here to stay.
"You can't put into words the support that this city has given us," said Thunder forward Jeff Green. "Ever since we've been here it's been tremendous."
In just two years, the Thunder has commanded the attention of thousands of Oklahoma sports fans. The team has brought together fans of Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma like never before and, as surprising as it might seem, has even snatched away some of the year-round attention placed on Cowboys and Sooners football.
"Before the Thunder, 12 months out of the year the content of the radio station was 75 percent, and 100 percent sometimes, OU and OSU sports," said Larry Bastida, market manager for Citadel Broadcasting, which operates sports talk station WWLS-FM 98.1. "Clearly now the Thunder is another large percentage of the content on the radio station. It's been fantastic."
Last seasons' playoff run sealed the Thunder's place in Oklahoma's sports landscape. But the franchise has been a hit since it relocated from Seattle in the summer of 2008. The team sold out of its season ticket packages in five days before the inaugural season and saw 46 of 82 home games sell out over the first two seasons.
After a league-best 27-game turnaround netted an improbable 50-win season and a thrilling playoff series against the now back-to-back defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, the love affair is now expected to only grow larger.
"The Thunder takes the whole market to another level because we have these various things now to be proud of and talk about," Bastida said.