The Thunder basketball team has a big impact on the State of Oklahoma. Not just because they are excelling in the NBA playoffs. But because it helps to point the nation – and the world – back to us.
The Thunder is an example of what a true team looks like, providing role models for our youth to follow. The Thunder also helps to unify us as a state, constantly reminding us that Oklahoma is strong and has a bright future ahead.
The Thunder’s outreach is phenomenal. With more than one million fans and followers strong worldwide on Facebook and Twitter, the Thunder has become a household name. Thunder season ticket members reside in 51 Oklahoma counties and 26 states. And the Thunder has been on national television countless times this season. In Oklahoma City alone, television ratings have doubled over last season. The NBA All-Star game was seen in 200 countries in 40 languages.
Kevin Durant (All-Star MVP), Russell Westbrook and Western All-Star Coach Scott Brooks and his staff brought international exposure to Oklahoma. All who watch are reminded that the Thunder is Oklahoma’s team. This drives recognition to our state and all the great things that are taking place here despite the difficult economic climate in our nation. Oklahoma has become a beacon of light in these challenging times and the Thunder is part of that equation.
The Thunder is a good example for our young people and a clear picture of a team that is one in action and heart. All of the players are very active in the community, several through their own initiatives, all of them through the Thunder’s own community platform which includes education, fitness and other programs. To date, the Rolling Thunder Book bus which features players distributing books to elementary schools has given out nearly 50,000 books.
The Thunder also helps draw our state together. As Oklahomans, we stand behind our team win or lose. One example is the Blue Alliance initiative. This organization has 100 captains and 7,300 members across the state. The participating cities span from Blackwell to Marietta (North to South) and Goodwell to Roland (West to East). The fans who are apart of Blue Alliance are official ambassadors of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The captains have committed to spread the Thunder spirit in their hometowns by recruiting more members, coordinating watch parties and sharing Thunder news.
I enjoy using the Thunder as a metaphor of Oklahoma’s success, and using Twitter to make subtle points. During the sweep of the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of playoffs, I was quick to draw a comparison on Twitter: “OKC beats Dallas…and our NBA team is better!” And during the second round of playoffs against Los Angeles, it was great to point out the lengths Oklahoma has come: “Oklahoma: better than Steinbeck; better than Lakers. Go Thunder!”
A great big thank you to the Thunder for everything they do as a team for our great state.
Thunder up, Oklahoma!