Roundtable: Thunder Twitter, part 1
Hoops fans have found that one social media platform rises above all others when it comes to NBA news and discussion: Twitter.
From all the NBA players themselves to the great and mighty Woj and his bomb dropping arch nemesis Shams, to owners like Mark Cuban and GMs like Daryl Morey, from Rachel Nichols and Ramona Shelburne to the World Wide Wob and Shea Serrano, from Zach Lowe to Kevin Durant’s burner accounts, if you want to be in the loop on all things basketball, Twitter is the place to be.
And the Oklahoma City Thunder is one of the most well represented NBA teams on the platform.
For starters, our very own Royce Young (yes, we are still claiming him) is Thunder Twitter’s torch bearer, and he’s one of the best in the business. Other Thunder media must follows include the likes of Erik Horne, Jon Hamm, Maddie Lee, Andrew Schlecht (and of course, Daily Thunder and its beat writer, yours truly). The alumni are illustrious as well, with Darnell Mayberry, Anthony Slater, Brett Dawson, Antonio Daniels and Fred Katz always around to weigh in on all things Thunder.
But Thunder media and Thunder players only account for half of what makes Thunder Twitter so informative, fun and entertaining. The community has been and will always be a big part of what makes OKC different from other NBA teams, and Twitter is no exception.
Whether defending Russell Westbrook against the haters, proclaiming their undying true love of Steven Adams, mancrushing on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, debating the pros and cons of trading Dennis Schröder or cursing KD’s latest quotes, there is a very large and very tight knit collection of Thunder fans on Twitter.
I thought it would be fun to spotlight some of the biggest and best names from Thunder Twitter. These superfans have as many or more followers as many members of the local media. And just like the media, their opinions may help shape others’ Thunder thoughts and narratives. Let’s see what they have to say about that and much more.
Where are you from?
@ThunderChats*: Richmond, Kentucky actually. With no actual connection to Oklahoma other than the Thunder.
@Three_Cone: Virginia. Would love to visit OKC and catch a game at some point, though.
@SteveThunderfan*: Let’s just say that where I’m from, the waving wheat can sure smell sweet when the wind comes right behind the rain. Let’s also say that where I am now, the rain comes right behind the rain and also before the rain, and between each of those rains come people who hate the OKC Thunder.
Seattle. I live in Seattle now.
@ThunderND: Columbus, Ohio. Never been to Oklahoma in my life; would like to change that one day.
@mynameis_kaylee: Tuttle, Oklahoma!
How long have you been a Thunder fan?
ThunderChats: I’ve been a fan since the 2010 playoffs. I was an Allen Iverson stan, and since he was on his way out I decided I didn’t want to be a Sixers fan anymore. Watching the youth, skill, passion, and tenacity of the young core go shot for shot with Kobe and co. was mesmerizing. An 8 seed showing that much fight, and a crowd providing that kind of atmosphere? I was hooked.
Three_Cone: Since around 2014. I come from a family that’s really baseball-centric, but something about basketball just dragged me in. I started watching random NBA games and the atmosphere around the Thunder–especially the constant hustle of Russell Westbrook–made me a fan almost immediately.
SteveThunderfan: As long as humanly possible. I’ve been a Thunder fan since August 30, 2008, when the logo and team name were leaked in this blog post. A guy snuck a camera into a packing facility. You know, because phones didn’t have cameras then. He brought a real camera.
Seriously. It was just a camera. It didn’t do anything else except camer.
So that’s how long I’ve been a Thunder fan, but I was an OKC basketball franchise fan starting on April 28, 2008, when the move was approved. Before that… Let’s not talk about before that.
ThunderND: I’ve been a fan for about seven years now.
mynameis_kaylee: 2008. I checked them out often, but was hesitant to love this team because of Kevin Durant. I’m a die hard Sooner and he was a Longhorn. I was not happy he was coming to OKC. But I grew to love them!
What’s your favorite thing about Thunder Twitter?
ThunderChats: The support and interaction we can have with each other. Whether it’s backup in a debate with another team’s fan, or giving someone advice/input on a decision they’re making, Thunder Twitter has each others’ backs. A crazy example of the community is that I was able to help start a podcast with people I had never met in real life, just on Twitter. We have since expanded and I’ve met a couple of them, but that would never have been possible had it not been for Thunder Twitter. Now I talk to these guys daily, and they are just as close to me as some of my best friends here. That’s community, y’all.
Three_Cone: It has to be the people. There are so many great accounts and I firmly believe that the Thunder have the best fans. I’ve never met a Thunder fan I don’t like, and the prominent presence of the fanbase on NBA Twitter as a whole shows how much we love the team.
SteveThunderfan: I have friends in New Zealand now. And Australia. And France and Spain and Italy and, gosh, so many other places.
And sorry, it was going to happen eventually, but I started that podcast with @ThunderChats (Topic: Thunder. Shameless plug.) with people I met on Thunder Twitter2
More accurately, they started a podcast with me.[/footnote–people whom I respected for their various combinations of passion and knowledge and humor. We’ve been at it for over a year. From Oklahoma, North Carolina, Kentucky, Nebraska, and yes, Seattle, those guys are some of my best friends now.
Kissy face emoji.
ThunderND: My favorite thing about Thunder Twitter is interacting with the amazing people involved. We are a community like no other and I am glad to be a part of it.
mynameis_kaylee: It’s just so fun to talk to people who love this team like I do! Celebrating the wins, having people who understand the KD stuff, the Russ stuff… we just love our team SO MUCH and I really think we are a top fan base.
What’s your least favorite thing about Thunder Twitter?
ThunderChats: Overreaction theatre. Armchair GM’s. Recently diehard Russ stans, or should I say Russ over Thunder fans. But hey, every tree has a few nuts. Even the strong ones.
Three_Cone: Especially this season, some people overreact a lot. For example, when we lost to Boston at the Peake, I saw a lot of fans calling for major changes to be made despite all of the positives we’d seen up to that point.
SteveThunderfan: No worries, I have them muted.
ThunderND: I honestly can’t think of anything I don’t like about Thunder Twitter. I guess maybe, every once in a while, we get frustrated with the team and say stupid things (myself included). We have a bad habit of overreacting, but that just comes with the territory when you have a group of fans as passionate as those found on Thunder Twitter.
mynameis_kaylee: Fake fans, Steven Adams haters, and the weird Rockets/Russ thing that was going on.
What’s your greatest Thunder Twitter accomplishment?
ThunderChats: Either typing “No” to a trade involving Shai, or shedding light on Steven Adams throwing shade at Reggie Jackson in his book.
Three_Cone: I’ve had a few people tell me that my account has made them a big fan of Shai as a player. Maybe one day I’ll push the SGA superstar agenda on everyone. Also I’ve made quite a few of the “You Lost To” memes that show up under the posts of teams the Thunder beat. Very proud.
SteveThunderfan: Topic: Thunder. Oops, squeezed it in again. But that’s small potatoes compared to Kaylee’s.
ThunderND: Defending Russ’s name against the hordes of people trying to tear him down is probably my best. Either that or trolling Damian Lillard and Jusuf Nurkic for sitting out to manipulate playoff seeding.
mynameis_kaylee: My fight with KD in 2016, when I called him out for being a snake and [REDACTED].
Do you think Thunder Twitter has any influence on Thunder narratives or storylines?
ThunderChats: It definitely can; a small spark can start a flame. I like to believe I was the pioneer for the #MVPG and the #HerrOKC movements…. which never happened…. okay so maybe it’s just in my head.
Three_Cone: For sure. I feel like PG as an MVP candidate was greatly pushed by Thunder Twitter. Additionally, I feel like SGA and Schröder, who are both having big seasons, have been getting a lot of respect due to how much Thunder Twitter has pushed their respective narratives.
SteveThunderfan: I really don’t know, because I’m in the Twitter bubble. I will say that Thunder Twitter definitely has influence on the Twitter Thunder narratives. We seem to have a really tremendous Twitter presence relative to other fanbases. Even with the Russ fan exodus. So yes, definitely, on Twitter. Past that, I suppose! “If a butterfly flaps its wings” on Twitter…
ThunderND: I think we definitely have some influence on narratives surrounding our team. It is becoming more and more obvious that Twitter is one of the outlets NBA fans and writers alike enjoy using to talk sports. I feel like Thunder Twitter played a role in changing the narrative surrounding Russ’s MVP season for sure.
mynameis_kaylee: Depends on the content. I’ve seen good storylines out there that could have come from Twitter folks, but I also don’t see constant “Steven Adams sucks” narratives which is a big discussion point on Thunder Twitter.
What have you been doing to fill the Thunder void?
ThunderChats: Boring answer: nothing has really changed for me. I’m considered an essential worker, so I haven’t stopped working. The only thing that is different about quarantine is I don’t get to see my friends, or watch sports. So yeah, huge bummer.
Three_Cone: I’ve been rewatching a lot of old games and some highlights from this season. I’ve made sure to constantly remind people on Twitter about how good this team is so they don’t forget when the season returns.
SteveThunderfan: Well I’ve got a 6-month old so frankly all voids in this household hath been runnething over. But more directly, and more embarrassingly, I’ve been kind of avoiding basketball, if I’m being honest. Every NBA conversation, show, replay, podcast (except Topic: Thunder, of course, wink wink) has this icky patina of sadness on it for me.
I feel like the NBA left me in the dead of night. It hurts to look at pictures of when we were happy.
ThunderND: I have mostly been focusing on school work (I’m currently in college) as well as re-watching old Thunder games from Russ’s MVP season.
mynameis_kaylee: I actually miss basketball so much that I haven’t been able to watch any. It makes me so sad. I’ve been walking my dog and studying and praying for corona to go away so my boys can get back out there.
*ThunderChats and SteveThunderfan have both written guest posts on Daily Thunder this season.