LOS ANGELES — It’s definitely a long journey from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles but before Game 3 of the NBA playoff series between the Thunder and Lakers, we’ve found a few handfuls of Thunder faithful mingling amongst the thousands of LA fans.
The place holds around 20,000 and there will probably be a couple hundred seat holders wearing Thunderwear.
We ran into some optimistic Okies, fired up to support their local NBA team.
One couple, Cheryl and Eddie Newell from Shawnee, tell me they’ve been die-hard Thunder fans even before the team arrived from Seattle.
Eddie said he and his wife came to all the Hornets games when the New Orleans team spent temporary time here due to Hurricane Katrina.
Cheryl said the minute the NBA labor dispute ended this season, on Christmas day in fact, she told her hubby they were going to follow the Thunder wherever the playoffs took ‘em.
They were in Dallas and they’re in Los Angeles planning on more trips after this weekend.
The Newells told me they were catching some grief from Laker fans and when the jawing continued, the Newells just held up the number “2” sign with their fingers, the number of wins the Thunder needs to eliminate the Lakers once and for all.
I was laughing at the Lakers fans expressions when free gold tee-shirts were given to each of them when they came through the turnstiles.
We Thunder followers know the “trend” of same colored tee-shirts for every playoff game started in OKC.
I remember Miami, Dallas and LA fans ripping us small towners for the concept and now, if you’ve noticed, all of those franchises are doing the same thing each game.
When I asked “Allison” who was handing out some of the shirts, if the LA fans would actually wear them, sit on them or use them to wipe down their cars, she said, “All of the above!”
That clearly illustrates why such a plan WON’T work here in the City of Angels.
Advantage Thunder again!
Watch our exclusive Thunder coverage from Los Angeles through the weekend as OKC remains unbeaten in post-season play trying to advance to the NBA’s Western Conference finals for a second straight season.
We’re the ONLY local TV station here with the Thunder and we hope you’ll continue watching our coverage on Oklahoma’s News Channel 4.
– Bob Barry Jr. from the Staples Center in Los Angeles