Coping without Kevin: The 5 Faces of Thunder Nation

Well Thunder fans, the day of reckoning has arrived. And it happened sooner than we ever imagined. On our country’s independence day your founding father, Kevin Durant, has left his NBA home of Oklahoma City for the 3-point splashing, testicle smashing Golden State Warriors. The news has a particularly sharp sting given the 7-game epic between the two suitors 5 weeks ago.

Kevin-Durant

As an Oklahoma resident, who doesn’t affiliate  with the Thunder in even the most minuscule sense, I usually resent my Twitter timeline. The biased optimism of the Thunder Nation was only made more annoying by the team’s supreme talent. But today was an exception. Today, Thunder fans showed me the wide array of the emotions that can be spawned from a single event that makes sports– and life — so amazing.

Like most things in life, these reactions are multilayered and can’t be classified. But given my outsider experience with  Thunder fans, I’m going to give it a try. Based on what I’m seeing, here are the 5 faces of Thunder Nation.

1.) The optimistic face:

You guys aren’t winning a title next year, but you’re not going to be a lottery team either.

Every franchise has fans who will look at the glass half full, and that’s not hard to do if you’re a Thunder fan. After all, you still have Russell Westbrook. And now with that long-armed, pizza-faced pariah out of town, nothing is stopping Oklahoma’s favorite ninja turtle from having a season that would even impress Oscar Robertson’s triple-double snagging grump ass. These Thunder fans know this. These Thunder fans also know that every shred of bitterness shown towards KD could go a long way in losing Westbrook next off season.

2.) The ‘He’s just doing what Lebron did’ Face:

A euphemism for denial, but who could blame you? There are parallels. Like Lebron, KD wants to be remembered as one of the all-time greats. He knows that can’t be done without a few championships.

However, for all the similarities; there are differences, too. With Durant, the Warriors are now a super team of epic proportions. They’ll have 4 of the NBA’s 20 best players, and 3 of the leagues 10 best all-time shooters. Even Miami couldn’t offer Lebron that.  More importantly, OKC had put together such a good roster. Way better than the one Cleveland had in 2010. The Thunder were a Klay Thompson superquarter away from beating Golden State and going to the NBA finals, and add the Oladipo trade to boot. So to these Thunder faces, I ask you: If Durant would leave a team this good, how good would they have to become to get him back? Another question: would you even want him back

The ‘ah shucks’ face:

This is the smallest portion of Thunder fans, but an important one nonetheless. You can’t deny they exist. These are the Thunder fans who seemed as interested in the Twitter banter between Kanter and Adams, and Cameron Payne’s dancing as they did KD’s jump shots. These guys will be ok. In fact, if your looking for a hug or words of encouragement, text one of your ‘ah shucks’ friends. They’ve got you.

The crawl in a hole and die face:

To these fans the Thunder will never be the same. To these fans basketball will never be the same. To these fans life will never be the same. They road with KD through thick and thin, through MVP speech and Jones fracture. They posted open letters to the Slim Reaper on Facebook. They are more likely younger fans, and don’t know Oklahoma City pre-Thunder…  pre-Durant. This face of Thunder fans always figured that Westbrook was the one most likely to leave, and they’ve probably convinced themselves he’s as good as gone, too. For this face, the 4th of July will forever live in infamy. At least they’ll be able to drink.

The scorched earth face:

You may not agree with this type of  Thunder fan. You may not agree with them calling Durant the ‘b-word’ or the ‘p-word’. You may not agree with them burning of jersey. But dammit, you can understand them.

Like them, you’ve looked at all of his tweets from 2010. You watched how close he came to beating the team you hate more than any. And now he’s joining forces with them. Of course, you feel betrayed. Of course, you feel shocked. You want to be classy. You want to be appreciative, but fuck it! At the end of the day only one thing matters: It’s not about charity, it’s not about being ‘not nice’, and it’s not about putting a city on the map. It’s about whether or not he’s wearing the jersey of the team you root for. And I’m sorry Thunder Nation, but HE is not.

 

 

 

 

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