In one of the best concept posts of the entire summer, Henry Abbott pulled together his entire TrueHoop network blogging staff and asked them, "What's your second favorite team?" Go read the responses. The Warriors are the new black. How chic.
But If one of the included responses really set off the Sports Guy's "Sports Bigamy" detector, it would have to be that of Royce Young, who runs the excellent Daily Thunder.
Who was Young's pick for second favorite team? That's right: the Portland Trail Blazers.
The idea of a second favorite team for Oklahoma City fans is a really weird one. Because in reality, the Thunder could really be considered a lot of OKC fans' second-favorite team even now.
Some cling to the city's first love, the Hornets. Some went with the closest regional team, the Mavericks. I didn't have a previous favorite team so if anything, I was a Jordan leftover and still kind of rooted for the Bulls. But if there's a team I secretly love besides my hometown Thunder, it's the Trail Blazers. I love everything about them. The logo, the name, the uniforms, the players, the rabid supporters. It's really what I envision happening to my team in my city, since we're both one team professional towns. I'm jealous of what they've got and I hope the same kind of uprising hits Oklahoma City in full force soon.
Last fall, I was in a Seattle bar for Bethlehem Shoals' book launch making this EXACT argument to spurned Sonics fans: "Portland has the best fans in the league, a committed owner, a mesmerizing pinwheel, a better stadium experience, better uniform colors, a top-flight coach, your own Brandon Roy... seriously everything you could posibly want in an adopted team." I convinced zero people with this sales pitch. With the first word of the pitch, "Portland," I was dead in the water. That night, we all watched the Blazers blow out the Bulls by something like 245 points. Still no one budged.
That's a rivalry. If the combination of Brandon Roy and a blowout victory can't make an entire bar of basketball nuts even consider changing allegiences, your rivalry is certified authentic.
In that light, it's particularly interesting to read Young's words because they really throw an added dimension of weirdness on this whole "Oklahoma City" scenario. My first thought is "Cool!." My second thought is "He's probably going to get killed by his commenters for admitting that." My third thought is existentially questioning whether fans of expansion/moved franchises can care as much about their teams as fans of more established franchises. My final thought is that he should probably just give up on the "Thunder" and become a full-time Blazers fan. His life would be better.
See what I mean? A really strange mix of emotions. Help me out here.
As a Blazers fan, what's your reaction to Young's statements? Excited? Defensive? Protective? Self-assuredly satisfied? Indignantly dismissive? Emboldened? Angry? Bitter?
And If you really want to send your brain on an around-the-world trip, imagine if the roles were reversed and I had written those words about the "Thunder" or, worse yet, the Lakers. What would your reaction be then? If I so much mention the initials KD around these parts, you guys are sharpening your pole vaults preparing for war. I likely wouldn't survive.
For the record, my personal second favorite team is... whoever drafts John Wall next year.
-- Ben (firstname.lastname@example.org)