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