By Hamish Girvan
There was much deserved hype and excitement around where New Zealander Stephen Adams went in the NBA draft (12th pick for those who missed it) – but the question is where is Stephen Adams actually going ?
That place is Oklahoma City in the State of Oklahoma. A Mid Western State that is possibly one of the more redneck and conservative states in the USA. Not one county out of 77 in Oklahoma on USA Election Day 2012 voted Barack Obama as the majority.
The song Okie from Muskogee is full of one-liners about small-town life in Oklahoma, saying conservative values are the norm and any outsiders with ideals contrary to their ways are unwelcome. It’s all about how proud it is to hail from Middle America, and how its residents are patriotic. As far as the lyrics go nothing has really changed there based on the election results stated earlier. This is the place where Adams will be living the start of his professional career.
Adams joins a team that struggles for focus from the local media. The Oklahoma football team (College Gridiron) are the biggest thing sports wise in the state with a storied history. They are closely followed in both following and passion by arch rivals from Oklahoma State College. Oklahoma is a football state – college only – as they do not house a NFL team or a MLB Baseball team so competition is limited from a spectator viewpoint. Football is god there – end of.
So that’s Oklahoma as a state – what about the Oklahoma Thunder NBA team ? They have only been around since 2008 – the NBA franchise was controversially moved by the owners from Seattle to much protest and emotion to Oklahoma City. Seattle fans pray for the Thunder to lose every game. The name “Thunder” was chosen due to Oklahoma being a frequent victim of powerful storms due to its location in Tornado Alley.
Current superstar Kevin Durant was drafted out of Texas University by the Seattle Supersonics and played one season for them before they relocated. Durant is one of the faces of the NBA and has given the Thunder franchise a massive profile. Also helping was the fact they reached the NBA Finals last season losing out to the Miami Heat (which gave the Heat their first title with their star studded “Big 3”)
Smart draft picks since the Thunders inception have built a team of both youth and enthusiasm. Russell Westbrook, and recently traded James Harden, have made them a second team favourite of a number of NBA fans. It’s hard to have hard core supporters if you have only been around for five or so years.
The Thunders 12th pick for Adams actually came via a trade with the Toronto Raptors they negotiated during the James Hardin trade. They would have picked at the 29th slot if not for that. Adams is seen as a long term project and it may be two seasons before he is a starter on the team. In the meantime he could always make a movie. It could not be as bad as this one starring Kevin Durant and set around Adam’s new franchise.
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