Open Letter to OKC Thunder Fans
By Brandon Weaver
I love living in Oklahoma! I’m proud of the people I’m surrounded by: hardworking, enthusiastic, genuine, tough, and caring. Since we have had the OKC Thunder, we have entered the national spotlight as a “Big League City.” Our state has been able to show off all of those characteristics and then some. We have had a tremendous run of success with the organization here. Now with Kevin Durant choosing to leave, what will that spotlight show? Will we show the nation the same support and energy for OUR team that they have witnessed of us through the last 8 years?
I’m a fan of the OKC Thunder, but I’m also the head coach at Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond. Speaking as a coach, I would love for fans to support us because they know we work extremely hard, we care about their support, and we represent them in a professional manner. I would hope that they would support us even when we were not as successful as we would like. I know that is a lot to ask, but I think this is the hallmark of special people and special programs/organizations. Don’t we want to be different than other fan bases? We have been for so long. Why would that change now?
I realize that supporting a high school basketball team with $5 admission is very different than supporting a professional team with ticket prices, parking, concession, and merchandise, but will Thunder games not be enjoyable to go to? They will still be a playoff contender. The games will still be entertaining and a spectacle that other cities wish they had. Money can’t buy championships. As a season ticket holder you may think, “I pay a lot of money. We should win.” What about the other professional teams and college teams for that matter that have people who spend big money to support them? As far as I can tell, a program/organization should earn our support by working hard, caring about their supporters/community, and representing them in a professional manner. Can we still be proud of our team for those reasons?
I have heard criticism of Sam Presti for the Durant decision. I do agree that it’s his job to field the best team possible. I even respect the fact that he said he will take however much blame we think he deserves while at his press conference. However, just like a coach can’t control the shots players make or miss, a GM can’t control a personal decision of a player. Did Durant not think he was important to the Thunder? No, the organization was built around him as the superstar. Did Durant not think he could win a championship here? Only he can answer that, but that’s a hard thought to believe seeing the position they were in this past year. Did Durant not think they had the right coach in Billy Donovan? By all accounts Coach Donovan did a fantastic job this year. Did it have anything to do with Russell Westbrook or the business (shoes, merchandise, etc.) side of the game? Again, only he can say. I’m not 100% sure why KD left. I would guess it had more to do with who Golden State is than what OKC is or isn’t. Just like his response when James Harden was traded; If he doesn’t want to be here then he shouldn’t be here.
I’m proud of the Thunder organization. They are interconnected with our community, they are a 1st class organization. They have a great GM and coach in my opinion. Sam Presti has drafted well, brokered some impactful trades, and has built this team for the long haul and not with the attitude of selling the future for the present. Some people may have wanted him to go all in on a particular year, but I’ve seen teams like that be irrelevant for years afterwards because of the chance to win that year. He has made smart decisions in my estimation. I’ve heard Coach Donovan speak and have the utmost respect for him as a man and a teacher of the game. He made some great adjustments throughout the playoffs against some all time teams and all time coaches. I couldn’t have predicted how well he would do this year coming from college, but he did. I respect how the organization is so professional. They don’t get into talking trash on each other. They are not in the headlines for actions that would embarrass us. They stress their core values (which have been identified as the core values of Oklahoma), and they live them everyday. They are an organization that I’m proud represents our city/state no matter who is on the team.
When talking to our basketball players, we often teach about controlling the controllable. How does that apply to us as a fan base? Can we control player’s decisions? No. But we can control our support for our team. I know the NBA is all about superstar players, but I love my team first, the OKC Thunder. I love them first because when players decide to leave, the organization will still be here. It will be working hard, caring about our community, and representing our city/state to the nation. What will they see? I hope they see the hard work, enthusiastic, genuine, tough, and caring people that I know Oklahomans are. I hope they see our fan base and are jealous because they know how rare it is, and they don’t have it. I hope they see a vibrant “small market” community that supports the team. I hope we prove the doubters wrong that a professional team won’t last in OKC. I hope they see the people that I know and love to be around in this great state. GO THUNDER!
Click HERE to visit Coach Weaver's website.
Brandon Weaver graduated from Anadarko High School and attended Southern Nazarene University, where he lettered in basketball. He has spent 9 years of his career teaching and coaching at Bethany, Elgin, and Edmond Memorial High Schools. He currently teaches and is the Head Boys Basketball Coach at Oklahoma Christian School in Edmond, OK.