Do you hear that? That deep, timpani roll just off the horizon that’s cascading our way? Reverberating, humming deep into your solar plexus like you’re standing too close to a didgeridoo? That’s the sound of the Thunder. That’s the sound of youth morphing into experience and a building, tempestuous roar that, like a stormy sea slamming into eroding rock cliffs, signals the passing of time.
The torch was passed last night.
Not willingly. It was ripped from the aging, championship-ring-wearing hands of the San Antonio Spurs who, mere games earlier, had looked to be unbeatable; an unstoppable, silver and black clad tide that was rolling in and nothing and no one could stop them on their way to the title.
Successions to the throne are rarely clean. There’s poison, vitriol, and if you watch Game of Thrones, incest (*Author’s note: a whole lot of incest). The Spurs are a far classier bunch than the Lannisters, but they still gave the Thunder their all. And somehow the kids from OKC prevailed.
I’m torn on the Thunder. They bring all kinds of positives to the court, but I still am not entirely on the Thunder bandwagon. It’s an enigma to me, because I can’t fully jock the Thunder without coming up with a list of why I shouldn’t. There’s this whole Yin and Yang thing going on, with an occasional Ying Yang Twins thing sprinkled in. Just trust me, it’s complex.
So I decided to present you, my 4 readers, with a list of 5 reasons to root for the Oklahoma City Thunder and 5 reasons to root against them.
5 Reasons to Root for the Oklahoma City Thunder:
1. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant may be the best basketball player on earth. You could argue that LeBron James has that title, and his MVP performance and more-multi-faceted game certainly would back that up if you wanted to present the case. But make no mistake about it, Kevin Durant is the real deal.
He’s 23-years-old. When I was that age I was jamming on wrinkly jeans from the floor of my bedroom and brushing my teeth with Diet Mountain Dew on my way to an already-5-minutes-in class lecture. He’s led the league in scoring 3 times.
He’s humble. He’s well-spoken. He’s 6’10″ and can handle the ball like a guard, shoot 3′s like he’s playing NBA Jam TE on easy mode, and attacks the rim with a ferocity that seems suicidal given that he looks to weigh about 108 pounds.
If he hadn’t gone to Texas I might like him even more.
2. James Harden
Even though my wife claims that his beard makes her “want to punch him in the face”, a claim which I find to be particularly amazing (*Author’s note: I’m a lucky man) I still like Harden. He does everything. Scores, distributes, comes off the bench without complaining and plays good defense.
Guys like Harden are what make championships possible. Guys like Harden are what make teams great. His progression this year may be exactly what has helped to get the Thunder over the Western Conference Finals hump. Even if he looks like a mutant-spawn of an illicit Rick Ross/lumberjack mountain-shack affair, the guy can flat-out play and you can’t help but root for him.
3. Substance Meets Style
The Thunder are just a damn fun team to watch play. They can score. They can defend. They have 3 guys who could literally jump up take a quarter off the backboard, make change for it, then play a now-suddenly-overpriced $.50 game of Pac-Man before they hit the ground. They do all of this while winning, which is the most impressive part of the equation.
When the Thunder are in the open court on a fast break even the whiter-than-Wonderbread crowd in OKC suddenly finds itself standing and preparing to get funky.
4. Scott Brooks. . .Looks Exactly Like Liam Neeson
Here’s a quick side-by-side:
If you think you’re going to kidnap Liott Neebrooks’ chance for a title you’re sorely mistaken. He’s a man with a definite set of skills. And he’ll use all of those considerable skills to hunt you down and find you.
5. They’re Not the Heat/Celtics
5 Reasons to Root Against the Oklahoma City Thunder
1. Don’t Trust The Russell West-B in Apt. 23
Russell Westbrook. He’s definitely one of the top 10 players in the league. In his own mind he’s a top 1 player in the league. When the line between reality and whatever’s floating around in his Chris-Brown-looking head.
While I’m completely in awe of his ability I generally get the feeling that somehow he believes himself to be every bit the equal to Kevin Durant, who is a once-in-a-generation talent. Where Harden and most of OKC knows their roles, The West-B in Apt. 23 often times appears to be the Thunder’s version of Joe Pesci. Phenomenal as a #2 but at his best when offsetting Bob DeNiro.
2. Kendrick Perkins
Perkins stumps around on court looking with the grace and the general demeanor of the title character Blackenstein.
He’s borrowed every scowl, dirty move, and faux-anger-that-gets-very-un-faux-technical-fouls manuver in the Kevin Garnett: Anything is Possiiiiiblllleeeee Guide to Overblown, Theatrical Intensity handbook.
3. This :
5. And this:
These guys can shoot pretty good, considering they clearly have a team-wide vision problem.
I’m not a fashion expert. In fact, I don’t understand anything that’s trendy or cool anymore. I feel like we’ve fallen through a portal to some kind of alternate dimension where it’s cool to dress like Willy Wonka; a terrifying land where Superman wants to be Clark Kent.
The Thunder are at the front of this brutal assault on our 1080-p’s. They step to the podium with glasses that would even cause a hipster to stop sipping his Latvian-imported micro-brew, that he can’t pronounce but knows deep in the soul-less chasm of his heart that it just has to be better than anything made in America, and spit it out onto his carefully wrinkled pants.
This atrocity cannot go un-recognized, but compared with the Miami Heat, who’re equally stylistically inclined? This final piece of the un-rooting puzzle might just not be enough. Go Thunder!