I've been seeing a lot of hate around BE for the Thunder. Granted, a lot of it is understandable. There's always going to be animosity between division teams. The Blazers and the Sonics were a classic rivalry, and OKC is just Seattle 2.0. I understand that. What I don't understand is how I'm encountering Blazers fans that legitimately hate the Thunder. I don't really get the Laker comparisons that are starting to be dished out.
First off, I understand that they have Kevin Durant and we have Greg Oden. I know that the majority of us fans wish that we had Durant, but we have to understand that it wasn't Presti that made the pick. We didn't hate Chicago because they ended up with Jordan. We hated Jordan because he constantly rubbed it in our faces. I haven't seen any evidence of Kevin Durant Portland-bashing. Which brings me to my next point: all of their players (Save Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to an extent) are fairly likable guys. I have a really hard time finding fault in the personalities of a Durant or a James Harden. Remember, we're not dealing with Kobe Bryant and Ron Artest here. Or even Amar'e Stoudemire and Jason Richardson.
It's easy to hate the Oklahoma City fans because of their low Basketball IQ. It's easy to hate them because they are being heralded as the "loudest fans in the NBA" even though several cities still claim to hold that title, including us. On the contrary, I actually appreciate the OKC fanbase. Not many teams can relocate to a new city and pick up a following as dedicated as the one they have inherited, and I'm glad that fans are coming out to support a small market team. It's good for other small markets who hope to have an NBA franchise some day. On the BBIQ question, yes, they get testy with calls they don't understand fairly often, but you have to understand that many of these people have never attended a professional basketball game before 2009. Many of them are still getting used to the differences between a blocking foul and a charge. You can't expect them to be the most knowledgeable fans in the league after two seasons.
So what if they are "what we were supposed to be"? They just got luckier with injuries and draft picks panning out better. They lucked out. I can't hate a team for being luckier than us. They're not a brash bunch of bullies like the Denver teams of recent years. They're not a ton of whiny, self-entitled jerks (ahem Miami). Why waste my energy hating a team that is clearly not hateable? As far as I'm concerned, I'm happy to have a great intra-divisional rivalry brewing, and I look forward to seeing both our teams progress over the next few years. And if they end up winning a championship before us, kudos to them. At least it wasn't LA, Boston, or Miami.
edit: on the issue of the relocation, YES I hate Howard Schultz and YES I hate the new ownership group for Oklahoma City. For more on that watch Sonicsgate. It's worth your time. But it doesn't make me hate the team itself.