Everyone defended Seattle because that’s what happens in a divorce: If there’s a victim, everyone sides with the victim. But in this case, there was a second victim … Oklahoma City fans. Remember, THEY didn’t steal the Sonics. They would have preferred an expansion team. They never wanted to be the 20-year-old yoga instructor. When the Sonics moved here and changed their name to the (I still can’t say it), what were OKC fans supposed to do? Feel guilty? Avoid the games? Not support the team? And to everyone’s surprise, the yoga instructor turned out to be pretty awesome. Which is what makes this situation so damned awkward. With the possible exception of Portland, no NBA team means more to its city…

The simple explanation: Oklahoma City has really good fans. The complicated explanation: They care a little bit more because the team matters more to them. Before Durant showed up, Oklahoma City was The City That Had The Bombing. Outsiders knew Oklahoma for football, the Nebraska rivalry and 1995’s terrorist attack, and maybe not even in that order. The locals came to accept that over time…

Every time Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti acquires a new player, he has them visit the memorial. It’s the only way to fully comprehend the horror of what happened. You never really recover from losing 168 locals, including 19 children, as well as just about an entire block of your downtown. You never stop thinking about how unfair life can be sometimes, how one lunatic shouldn’t be able to carry that much sway. Presti wants incoming players to understand the stakes. You just joined an especially close-knit community that’s bonded forever by a horrific tragedy. This is like nowhere else you have ever played. You have to understand why they’re wired this way. He encourages them to glance around the stands during their first home game, to remember that every one of the 18,000 fans was probably affected by the bombing in some way.