Students support former Jayhawks in the NBA Finals
- Jun. 19, 2012
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With the University basketball team finishing their season in April, KU students have a different basketball team to support.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has gained popularity among students because of proximity. The Thunder is currently playing in the NBA finals against the Miami Heat after beating the Dallas Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the playoffs.
Cody Fawl, a senior from Mcpherson, said he started supporting the Thunder because of the youth they have on the team, as well as their style of play.
“They are a fun team to watch.,” Frawl said. “They are young, athletic and fast. They like to get out in transition and play a fast paced style of basketball that is very attractive.”
The average age of the Thunder is 25, led by Kevin Durant (23), Russell Westbrook (23) and James Harden (22).
Fawl says he watches most of the games at his house but does enjoy watching the bigger games at a bar.
“I was at Brothers for Game four of the Thunder-Lakers series, and it was getting pretty loud in there,” Fawl said. “I noticed a lot of people cheering for the Thunder, and when Durant hit that 26 footer to win it, the place went crazy.”
Fawl said another reason why he supports the Thunder is because they have two former Jayhawks on the roster, Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich.
“I was a huge Nick Collison fan growing up, so I followed his career from when he was with Seattle,” Fawl said. “It is awesome to see him have a chance to compete for a title.”
Darren Tidd, a senior from Olathe, cheers for the Thunder because of the way the team was built through the draft.
“They are an easy team to root for. They built their roster the right way,” Tidd said. “You see Miami and Boston building their big three through trades and free agency. The Thunder got Durant, Westbrook and Harden all through the draft.”
Tidd said he became a Durant fan after watching him play against KU when Durant was with the Texas Longhorns.
“I was at the game in 2007 when Durant came to the Fieldhouse,” Tidd said. “I remember in the first half, he couldn’t miss, and I thought he was going to score 50. I remember he sprained his ankle in the second half, and when he came back out of the locker room he got a standing ovation. I don’t think I’ve ever seen KU fans give a standing ovation to an opposing player.”
When the Seattle Supersonics drafted Kevin Durant with the second pick in the 2007 draft, Tidd became a fan because of Durant. After the Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 as the Thunder, Tidd said he transformed from a Durant fan to a Thunder fan.
“When they moved to Oklahoma City, it seemed like it was easier to cheer for them,” Tidd said. “Since Kansas City doesn’t have a team, I decided to become a Thunder fan because of how close they are to us. I’ll keep cheering for them until Kansas City gets a team.”
Edited by Megan Hinman