Tonight it begins anew for me, the tenth season of the Oklahoma City Thunder and the 2017/2018 NBA season. Sure, the contest with the New Orleans Pelicans is just the 2nd of four exhibitions before the actual season begins in a couple of weeks, but the routine started ten years ago on that “first night” will be played out again. The anticipation is there, again, after the long months of late spring and summer, and I cannot wait to get in the car and take that thirteen mile trip to downtown Oklahoma City. For the four hundredth or more time in those ten years my night will be complete when the final buzzer goes off in the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Win or lose, I will have viewed basketball at the highest level, even if tonight’s game is just a glorified practice. Russell Westbrook might not play, but that makes little difference. The excitement of live and in person sports which started for me at the age of three, watching my Uncle John Pratt’s Midwest City Bombers basketball team play in a tournament in Drumright, OK. That was in 1956. Today, after thousands of games, that excitement is going strong at mid-morning.
This should be one heck of a ride for the Thunder with the additions of Carmelo Anthony and Paul George. With three cinch hall-of-famers on this Thunder roster, the possibility of playing and competing for a championship at the highest level, that is the Finals, is a fact. Westbrook, George, and Anthony, supported by some familiar faces such as Roberson and Adams, Collison and Abrines, and spiced with other new faces that are named Patterson and Felton, bring the Thunder.
Sports fans, I am ready.