OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — It’s a good idea to get to Chesapeake Arena early for a basketball game if only for the experience outside the place. There’s a lot of Thunder blue to see.
Then there are people like Cherie Rich, who take the idea of dressing up for the home games to the extreme. “We felt like rock stars. Everybody wanted their pictures with us,” says Rich after an experience on Thunder Alley before a 2nd round game against the Lakers.
She is a season ticket holder dating back to the first year the Hornets came to town. For the playoffs this year she and a friend decided to dress up as different Thunder players each night. For Game 4 against the Mavericks she wore a Dequan Cook costume she called ‘Cookin’ up 3’s’. For Game 1 against the Lakers she came as James Harden in a hard hat and blue beard. For Game 2 she and Vanessa Shadix did KP duty as in Kendrick Perkins. “I don’t know,” she ponders. “I just started thinking of these ideas of players we could dress like.”
Away from the games you can usually find Rich on the golf course. She’s the current president of the Oklahoma Womens Golf Association. Once a week she plays a threesome at Lake Hefner with old friends. Stand her over an honest ‘lie’ out here and Cherie will admit that she used to hate the NBA game. She liked her OSU Cowboy basketball team, but it took another home team before she jumped on another basketball bandwagon. “My husband is an OU fan so now we have a team we can share,” she explains.
It’s been a fun ride. From her seats Cherie and Vanessa are regular fixtures even when they’re not dressed up. This year there is home for something really special, maybe even enough victories to dress up as every Thunder player and a Championship parade too.