In a period of darkness, the OKC Thunder provide light

Fans gather outside Chesapeake Energy Arena before Game OKC Thunder (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Fans gather outside Chesapeake Energy Arena before Game OKC Thunder (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

In the midst of a global pandemic and in the face of uncertainty, the OKC Thunder gives a reason for hope around the state.

It’s been over two weeks since we have seen live sports and gotten our escape from the real world. The world is now darker than ever, and it feels like with each passing second the global pandemic gets worse and worse, and the timeline before our lives return to a state of normalcy is seemingly farther and farther away.

As we flip around the television, read the news, and consume the media it seems to just make us more and more saddened, depressed, and helpless. However, there is still a bright light piercing through the darkness right here in Oklahoma. Let’s take a moment to escape from the darkness, and appreciate all that the OKC Thunder organization has done for the great state of Oklahoma.

Right now the stock market is crashing, people are losing income and even jobs entirely, and it feels as if we are headed straight for a second installment of the great depression to the fault of no one. The oil and gas industry, which has been a lifeblood in the state of Oklahoma, is even in flux. Even the Women’s College World Series being canceled for 2020 impacts Oklahoma in a huge way economically.

Who knows if the OKC Thunder will return, and how many games they will get to finish out in the state or if fans will even be allowed to attend those games. Due to the fact that money is going to be tight for many families around the globe and in Oklahoma, even if fans are allowed to attend games, how many can afford to?

However, in all of this craziness let’s not lose sight of some of the positive things in life. For our state, the OKC Thunder are a wildly positive feature in every single way imaginable. While they do have Oklahoma City across their chest, they have done an outstanding job rallying around the entire state throughout their over decade long tenure in OKC. That is a trait that some sports organizations struggle with.

Let’s quickly talk about the on the court product, which is not even the most interesting aspect of all of this. Outside of their first season in town, and an injury-plagued fluke of a season, the OKC Thunder have seen the most production and success on the floor as almost any other organization in the 2008-present day timeline.

The amount of Hall of Famers to stroll past Bricktown and be shuffled in and out of Loud City is unheard of. You look at an organization like the Hornets who will probably never in their history have guys like prime Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, a still relevant and productive Chris Paul, James Harden, Paul George, a washed-up Carmelo Anthony even, and more.

The best they can hang up is Kemba Walker, whose career does not even come close to anyone on the side of the Thunder. The winning, and the caliber of player we got or get to watch in Oklahoma City is generational. It is jaw-dropping, and frankly, a ton of luck is involved. That winning, and the fan support that came with it leads us into what is the most exciting part of all this for a life-long Oklahoman.

Prior to the team coming to down, Bricktown was simply a couple of restaurants that were somewhat spread out, most famously a spaghetti warehouse. No one really spent nights out on the time, and there was nothing to really entertain yourself with. I mean outside of catching a movie, or a minor league baseball game, you could hit up Toby Keith’s bar and grill I guess. Nonetheless, “going to the city” was not a true event or spectacle until the OKC Thunder came to town.

Now, not only is Oklahoma City a world-wide brand thanks to its NBA popularity, but the city and state are thriving and growing to unthinkable levels in flyover America.

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With local breweries, and eateries, the evolution of the plaza district, and the downtown nightlife options, Oklahoma City has turned itself into a true destination. That is something I truly do not happens without the addition of the Thunder.

Instead of the same old spaghetti Warehouse, right now if you polled Oklahomans, they could all have a different favorite local spot to eat, drink, and be merry…Mine happens to be the Jones Assembly.

With the uprise of small business, local hangout spots, and local eateries, it is important to remember just how much we have grown as a city, and a state, since the addition of the OKC Thunder. So when this is all over, support local businesses as well as the OKC Thunder!

We all remember what it was like to not have any of the cool things we do now, and we wouldn’t want to lose it. Over the last decade, the increase of state pride and the statewide comradery has been excellent. I am proud to be writing this article in the great state of Oklahoma.

Even in scary times, let’s just take a second to appreciate all the good!

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Remember to stay home, practice social distancing, and wash your hands! To all the employees who do not have the benefit of working from home due to having to serve our communities, Thank you! You’re doing fine, Oklahoma.