We wrapped up one of our longest homestands of the season last night and I’d like to take the opportunity to thank the fans of Oklahoma City for all the support you have given me in my time here, and have given this team over these last few years.
I was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, so for me, playing in Oklahoma City has been sort of like coming home. Just in terms of the size and pace of the city, and the way people carry themselves, it reminds me a lot of Little Rock.
When I’m out going about my day and doing things, people will say hello, pay their respects and what not, but it’s nothing over the top. There’s not always that feeling of being a celebrity here.
The relationship between the team and the community here in Oklahoma City is pretty unique in that way. The Thunder organization has made a genuine commitment to the community, and the people of the city really have a different connection to the team.
They love the Thunder and have a lot of respect for what we do. There’s never been a feeling that we’re just a bunch of professional athletes who happen to play for the Oklahoma City Thunder. The fans see each player as another hard-working guy who happens to have a job where they get to see him do it on TV sometimes. We’re not viewed any differently than any other person.
The way people feel about and support the team, it’s as though you’re a part of their family. So no matter what is going on, they’re going to look out for you. They don’t have any desire or willingness to hurt you, or do anything to take something away from you. They want the best for you. You can feel that when you interact with the people, and that makes for an enjoyable experience.
I think that’s a characteristic of this part of the country. I get that type of feeling in Little Rock as well. Even when I go home, I’m not treated as a celebrity, and honestly it’s something that’s kind of refreshing. It allows you to just be yourself.
FACE OF OKLAHOMA CITY
It makes it a lot easier for the people of the city to buy into and support the organization the way that they do when the organization is represented by a guy like Kevin Durant.
I know the NBA has the lottery, and Kevin was the second pick. But it’s literally a lottery ticket to have a player like Kevin Durant be drafted by this organization, and for him to have the impact on the team and the city that he does.
Kevin is a really solid human being, a high character individual with a very welcoming personality and demeanor. The way he carries himself and makes himself accessible to other people when he’s out in public factors into the way people view him, and how they view our team. It’s very rare to have the combination of his abilities and personality. He’s the right type of superstar for this team. He’s accessible, and in this region, where people have certain belief systems and carry themselves in an old-fashioned, hard-working way, that’s important.
He just opened a restaurant not too long ago, and you can see it in the respect he shows for people, regardless of who they are, where they work, what color they are. Those things make the relationship between Kevin, the team, and the city a unique one.
The fact that we’re the only major pro sports team in town may have something to do with that. But I also think that’s just the way it is here. Watching OU football or Oklahoma State and some of the other universities, they get similar support from their fans.
We’re always grateful and thankful for the support we get. I don’t think we could ask for anything more than that. I want the fans to know that we’re going to do whatever we can to continue to give you the motivation to come out and support us, and we’re glad you’re along for the ride.