(Please welcome new DT contributor, Patrick James. Patrick is a Thunder season ticket holder and about as die hard a fan as you’ll come across. Plus, he’s really smart. So that’s good. He’s going to contribute some columns here, which I’m excited about. He starts out the way any Thunder fan should – by expressing slightly awkward man love for KD and Uncle Jeff.)
Kevin and Jeff,
Let’s go ahead and hit the pause button and keep it pressed down, because this is pretty much a love letter to you guys. Thunder fans want you to stay. We want to grow old with you.
We love you, men.
You ARE the Thunder, along with the core group of your teammates who took us for a joyride last season that ended only minutes from May. More than that, you ARE basketball in Oklahoma City. We had a fling with the Chris Paul and the Hornets during their stay, but it becomes clearer with each passing day that the best gift they gave us was the possibility of you. We showed everyone we could be an NBA city, we voted to pay for the arena and renovate it ourselves to show our commitment capacity, and the basketball gods delivered us the team we want to … marry?
That could be best way for us to put it. That’s how we feel, in a fan-to-a-team sense. We want you on the Thunder until retirement do us part — or at least until a victory lap in DC do us part in a dozen years. MJ got one and he wasn’t even from there. But we want to be there with you as partners and adventurers, for better and worse, for as long as you both play ball.
Just about everything we’ve learned about you on the court and off, from the media and social media, makes us like you and your teammates more. The fans see energetic, humble young men who are active in the community, and we swoon. That you’re all friends makes it our own cheesy sports movie. We’ve got the team everybody wants to have, and we know we’re lucky.
You’re the captains of the team that got its playoff baptism when we did. You saw, felt and heard what happened in the Ford Center all year and in the playoffs. We’re ready to eat nails for you. You already know we’ll show up in ice storms if we have to, and if you’re plaing in May soon we’ll brave hail storms and tornadoes too. (We do need to sit down and talk about what to do during severe weather soon. For now all you need to know is to turn on Gary and if you hear the siren, go stand outside and look for the tornado with your neighbors, who will also be standing outside.)
We know we’re not the only factor. The pie is only so big, and we don’t have any say in how the Thunder organization treats you and your teammates when it’s negotiating time for them. But we’re confident they’ll do the right thing because you’re confident too. The Thunder organization has earned our trust along with yours, treating the fans right and building a winning team right away.
But the Thunder has also built a team that can win for a long time, and that’s why we think we’re the perfect match for you. Lots of guys on the roster who won’t get max offers could probably find an extra dollar or million from another team, and we know bigger markets could bring more exposure. And while it’s easy for us to say “What’s a few million more?” when wanting you to stay, maybe we have a point: Where else could you go to get something better than what you have here, where you love your teammates and have a chance to win together for a decade?
We’re not scared you may be leaving. You’ve never said you could, and we know you’re serious when you say Oklahoma City is a good place to live because we know it too. But moments like today are when we have to talk about the future. We think you’re cornerstone players for a franchise that could be the team of the next decade, with more hard work and some good fortune. We think we’re a perfect fit as a city — and we’ve showed you we’re head over heels for you.
So maybe it’s not a sports marriage we’re asking for, but something different. We think the two of you, along with your teammates and our community, can achieve more together than apart.
Will you be great with us?
– Your smitten fans