Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

The pros and cons of being a Thunder fan in Tulsa


Playoff season is on dot com. Lately I’ve found myself toggling between unconditional love for the whole team and cursing myself for caring too much, which will almost certainly lead to heartbreak this season. I love rushing home from the gym to turn on another playoff game, but I deeply resent the foul mood that many of the games leave my boyfriend in. I really love RussWest, but I hate how he’s seldom remembers to use good ball movement.

As with most things in life, there’s a ying and yang, a give a take. One of these said things is being a Thunder fan who lives in Tulsa. “Huh?” you might ask. I’ll break it down.

Pro: Hooray, our state has a pro team!

Not so many years ago, the sports gods (or you know, David Stern) picked us out of the crowd and gave us our very own team to love, nurture, and care for. I’m okay with the Thunder being city-specific rather than our entire state. “Utah Jazz” and “Indiana Pacers” just don’t have the right ring to them, plus chanting “O-K-C” makes a bit more sense than 4-syllable “Ok-La-Ho-Ma” would.

Sure it’s the OKC Thunder, but it totally has the feel as if it were our whole state’s collective team. This is also evident in Chesapeake’s opening video they’ve played for years and barely modified.

Con: OKC people have gotten a little supreme about it.

We get it, you have the basketball team. You’re also the capital, have a number of suburbs in close proximity, are located in the very center of our state, harbor about a million major highway cross sections, and your people like to go to NBA games, even when it’s another city’s team who was just there temporarily. There was a lot that went in to where the NBA moved this team, and “haha OKC has always been so much better’n Tulsa duh gus gus” wasn’t one of them.

Con: The drive.

That hour and a half stretch going west on highway 44 is never too bad, especially if you’ve got a good podcast to listen to or have some solid Sirius stations programmed into your car’s dashboard. The drive to OKC almost always flies by.

It’s the drive home that makes me want to intentionally crash into the Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague. You’re a weird mixture of sleepy and wired, emotionally exhausted, and probably have to be at a work meeting at 8 am the next day. I think every Tulsan driving home from OKC lets out an audible sigh of relief the minute they see Sapulpa’s Cinema 8 comes into focus.


Pro: We can hate Blake Griffin and Chris Paul without any guilt.

Chris Paul wasn’t shopping at our grocery stores, attending our churches, or stealing our hearts back in the late aughts. Blake Griffin wasn’t stomping our streets when he was a wee lad. Sure, half of us are Sooners, but as a Sooner fan you should know that we’ve never given a shit about college basketball. To many-a Tulsan, Blake’s just another whiney NBA lap dog with a killer dunk.

Pro: We don’t have to deal with post-game traffic several nights a week.

The absolute worst part about driving home after a Thunder game is the 45 minutes of traffic you must endure before you can even get on the highway. As the minutes tick away, you mentally calculate how many hours of sleep you’ll be lucky to get that night, and vow to pay the premium for a weekend game the next time.

At least I’m already up and out and doing something though. I feel bad for the people who live in those cool apartments in Deep Deuce, whose entire neighborhood floods with slow moving traffic. They probably have to plan their entire lives around when Thunder games end.

That’s the thing about living in Tulsa–even minor traffic inconveniences seem like the end of the freakin’ world.

Con: Our city isn’t decorated with RussWest and KD’s faces all over town.

It would be quite the improvement over the radio personalities, orthodontists, and erectile dysfunction ads that seem to be popular around my house.


Pro: Going to games is a big event for Tulsans, and often includes a nice dinner at Deep Fork, Pearl, or Sushi Neko.

We’re going to the big city so it’s time for a nice meal, right? Plus, the clear eyes and full belly helps to get you through that drive home that looms over you throughout the night.

Con: Many Tulsa noobs don’t know about these places and eat at Zio’s in Bricktown instead.

I’m a born and bred South Tulsan, so I can say with the utmost certainty that a chain restaurant, in an overly commercial strip of tourist traps, surrounding a concrete waterway, is one the place we’d feel most comfortable.

Pro: We get to stop at Quiktrip before heading to the game.

Friends, this is my trump card.

Follow Chelsea on Twitter at @xCawoodstock


    • I wish the hipsters would put down the hookah and get into izakaya food or something similar. Oklahoma seriously needs an authentic Japanese dining experience and not just theme restaurants.

  1. OnCue > Quicktrip
    What? Tulsa doesn’t have an OnCue?
    Haha OKC has always been so much better’n Tulsa

    • I wouldn’t say OnCue is “better” than QT, more like “precisely, painstakingly, holy crap I guess you can’t trademark a store layout copied from” QT. And because they only build the giant ones so far, there aren’t enough of them.

    • On cue > QT??? Uh, not a chance. The only reason tulsa does t have on cue is because qt’s are superior to just about every other gas station. Also, although I lived the first 30 years of my life in okc, I can easily tell you that okc is not better than tulsa. At all.

  2. Tulsa’s butthurt about OKC having a team has been going on since they got here. Does anyone else remember the local Tulsa media meltdown about how they were going to not root for the team because they were named the OKC Thunder and not the Oklahoma Thunder? Not to mention that Tulsa blog guy gleaming about how when they play exhibition games there, they never mention OKC and how it’s good for Tulsa.

  3. Tulsa shouldn’t be butthurt. They have a professional basketball team – the mighty Shock.

  4. (Oncue + 7-11) > QT
    So long as we’re doing gas station inequalities let’s get it right.

  5. Tulsa is getting a Costco first, but it can’t sell cheap liquor in Oklahoma so what’s the point?

    They also have a Restoration Hardware which I am entirely jealous of and I do like to go and shop at Utica Square.

    But I’ll take the Thunder over all of that.

  6. I love the Thunder, but I hate the drive back home to Checotah. I don’t care what people want to call them, to me & my kid they are Our Thunder. I’ll tell you what I really hate, $150 for Lower Level seats to see the Thunder play the Bucks… The Bucks!!! “But tickets to Thunder games are cheap” Whatever! I’m certainly not going to pull a 5-6 hour shift in my car to sit in Loud City.

    • I think you’ve united us all. We can all agree that both OKC and Tulsa suck less than Checotah. Great job delivering that hot blonde country singer, though, even if I can’t remember her name at the moment.

    • Exactly what’s wrong with Loud City? I’ve been up there for six years, because it’s what I can afford. There’s not a bad seat in the place.

  7. I watch the games at home in my own chair. Hell, I can even hit pause, go piss & come back not missing a thing. Never understood why anyone would want to go watch a game live. Maybe it’s because I’m an old cranky fart.

  8. Those three restaurants though…Do people really love those places? I’ve always thought they were more of a “well, okay I guess we can eat there tonight.” Definitely not worth making a trip out of them.

  9. You mean you don’t like driving past the “Big Vagina” and listening to someone invariably making a comment about it?!

  10. I grew up in OKC and moved to Tulsa a few years ago and I am in no hurry to find a way back to OKC anytime soon. Tulsa is so pretty and just a nicer and more affordable town to be in. The road conditions here SUCK, but they’re not much better in OKC. I’ve been to a few Thunder games, including playoff games, and I never really enjoyed be being there as much as I enjoy being at a bar with friends; unless you’re talking about the suites.

    • The only thing I miss from OKC: China Town (Grand House, Lee’s Sandwiches, Super Cao Nguyen, and all the delicious pho shops, chinese buffets and bubble tea shops).

  11. I heard dj boom king of loud city was originally from Tulsa. Speaking of which I haven’t heard dj boom at the games getting the crowd pumped up. Does he still work for the team?

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