OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Thunder has become a global brand. A fan at Wednesday night’s game proves that.
Nanae Yamano has had a serious case of Thunder fever since 2012. She fell in love watching Russel Westbrook in the NBA finals.
Why does Yamano like the Oklahoma City star?
“Because he is weird, not normal, abnormal,” she said. “He defines himself, doesn’t let anyone else define him.”
For the last two years, the Tokyo artist has been keeping a unique game log. Yamano makes a drawing of each and every game.
The drawings caught the eye of the Wall Street Journal. The paper wrote a feature on her.
The National Basketball Association liked it and brought Yamano to Oklahoma City.
Its Yamano’s first time to the United States. Its her first time out of Japan, period.
You know @7A_mountain from her @okcthunder cartoons. She met Mayor @davidfholt today on her first trip outside of Japan, a visit to #OKC for Game 2 courtesy of the @NBA. How did a Japanese amateur cartoonist who isn’t a sports fan grow to love the Thunder? “Russell Westbrook.” pic.twitter.com/qBIeXVWbn9
— City of OKC (@cityofokc) April 17, 2018
She had to get a passport so the NBA could fly her in to Oklahoma City.
“Before she became a fan, she didn’t know about the city, she didn’t know the city even existed,” said her translator.
Yamano made stops at the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Myriad Botanical Gardens. She even visited with Mayor David Holt.
— Mayor David Holt (@davidfholt) April 17, 2018
“There are a lot of places under construction right now but, wherever it’s done, it’s neat and beautiful,” Yamano said.