When I was looking at StubHub for tickets to Tuesday night’s Oklahoma City Thunder preseason game at the BOK Center ($350 for a game that doesn’t count? pass) it struck me that this season will be the team’s eighth in Oklahoma.
It doesn’t really seem possible.
When I was in high school, I would have donated any one internal organ for an NBA team, something that at the time, seemed like an impossibility. So when the whole fight over the team went down between OKC and Seattle, I vowed that if our state won, I would take full advantage.
So you’re looking at (or reading, I guess) a person who attended the Thunder’s very first game in the state of Oklahoma. Impressed?
It was a different time then, both for the team and for myself. I went to the game with a group of friends, and due to the now-ancient technology in camera phones at the time, I brought a digital camera that I used to take terrible pictures.
Why am I not going to the game tonight? Because I have a baby on the way. If you went back in time and told 2008 Dylan that, he probably would have suffered a heart attack in the BOK Center concourse.
If 2008 doesn’t sound that long ago to you, think of it this way: Yao Ming was the starting center for the Houston Rockets that night and Metta World Peace was still known as Ron Artest. Nick Collison, now the Thunder’s elder statesman, was in only his fifth season.
Russell Westbrook was a bench-warming rookie and P.J. Carlesimo (best known for being choked out by one of his own players while with the Minnesota Timberwolves) was the team’s coach.
That game was the Thunder’s only preseason win that year. The regular season wasn’t much different, as the team went 23-59.
I was joking the other day that basketball season really snuck up on me, and I determined the reason for that is because the Cubs are in the playoffs.
Let me explain. As a Cubs fan, I usually can only maintain day-to-day excitement over the team into May, at the latest. By that point the team is out of the race and I turn my attention elsewhere. But, thanks to their extended playoff run, I’ve had to follow them into the fall.
It’s nearly unprecedented.
In a way, the Cubs and the Thunder are relatively similar. During the Thunder’s last couple of seasons in Seattle, they sold off any players of value in order to lose a lot of games and accumulate assets.
That process led to Kevin Durant, Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and James Harden (I still love you, James.) As a result they’ve been a Western Conference favorite every year since 2010.
The Cubs have followed a similar path. Following decades of losing accidentally, management said, “Why don’t we do it on purpose?”
Now they have young talent at seemingly every position, and I’m watching baseball in October.
What a world. (We won’t talk about how the Dallas Cowboys are doing.)