Hello fellow DT readers out there. I’m hoping you’re reading this in the dry and sheltered confines of your home, office, well pretty much anywhere but inside a car on your smart phone just trying to kill the time as you wait for a road to become unblocked or opened back up.
And since we’ll all probably remember this day as the day the OKC metro single-handedly crushed the rain record for the month of June in what will probably amount to a 10-12 hour time-span, that got me thinking: “I wonder what the fans of the Thunder will take away from this last season and what they consider to be the biggest and most memorable moment from the last year.”
So I’m opening up this little article here to let you join in the conversation and give us all the gift of your brightest and best memory from this pretty historic season.
To kick us off, I’ll jump in first with what can only be referred to as the single most intense, exciting, anxious and awe-inspiring sporting event I’ve ever experienced first hand—aka, Game 3 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
I’m going to try my best to be brief so I’ll start this by saying that you could feel the electricity on the street as you approached the Ford Center. This was it. The first playoff game in Oklahoma City history and somehow you were lucky enough to find yourself with a ticket and an almost comically oversized t-shirt in a sea of blue.
The noise. The energy. The defending champions. It all morphed and multiplied into an almost uncontainable frenzy from seat-to-seat. Every Kobe bucket was a dagger and every Durant rebound in the midst of his struggling shooting defined perseverance, every James Harden three pointer made you almost feel the weight of Games 1 and 2 lift off of his shoulders, every second, every play, every moment was magnified and intensified to a level I’ve never witnessed.
And to share that with my wife, with my friends and my extended buddies at the DT, well isn’t that why we dive headfirst into fanhood? Isn’t that why we’re here in the first place? The community, the brotherhood, the family and fan support. It was all there. In that Ford Center Arena, I had roughly 18,000 family members (minus a few smug Laker fans, who were actually pretty cool afterward except for the woman who left screaming, “Ya’ll still going to get your [behinds] kicked”) all joining with me in the same goal, the same purpose of screaming as loud and consistently as we had to in order to help will those boys in white to come out on top.
I was in basketball nirvana.
And then amazing happened. Westbrook dunked on Lamar Odom and half the Kardashian family. The Lakers lead was only 6. The Ford Center thundered with wide-eyed amazement and excitement. We could feel something was happening…
Defensive stop. Harden pulls up EARLY in the shot-clock in transition with all of his old-school swagger back and makes yet another confidence boosting, chest pounding three pointer to cut the lead to 3. The walls of the Thunderdome reverberate and percolate while your ears could no longer discern individual sounds. Everything was a sea of raging white noise.
And then after a fantastic defensive performance, Kevin Durant is given the ball off of an outlet pass and heads up the court, crossing the mid-court line and even though it was unbelievably early in the shot-clock, even though he’s been ice cold from the floor all night, even though there is no one underneath the basket to rebound, every single blue-clad fanatic in that arena knew exactly what he was going to do.
KD pulled up from behind the line, the roaring Ford Center falling whisper quiet in an instant as the ball soared through the air, each fan’s lungs filling and holding, burning in anticipation as the ball and cylinder grew closer.
Net. Eruption of noise.
Jumping, deafening screams, a sea of blue ebbing and flowing in a moment of pure and utter jubilation.
And I’ll never forget it.