Last night, which seems like forever ago at this point, Russell Westbrook hit a crazy, one-handed scoop shot while being fouled that he couldn’t replicate given 12 chances. It was the kind of play you see all the time, where a guy just throws the ball at the rim when he’s fouled in an effort to convince the ref he was shooting, only this shot went in and the Oklahoma City faithful went bonknananas (bonkers + bananas, obviously).
Since it’s the 21st century, pictures were snapped and we get a chance to look at some of the reactions on the faces of those very happy Thunder fans. So let’s do that, starting immediately after this sentence.
Charles Schuster, 59, Banking Executive
Charles hadn’t been this excited since the big Old Second/Fifth Third merger from a few years back. Heck, he hadn’t worn a t-shirt over a dress shirt in ages. But this Thunder team made him feel young again, just like when he got his start at the bank as a teller who used to change dollars in to quarters for customers who needed to use the bank’s pay phone. Maybe he doesn’t understand every basketball rule, but he’s always known when to clap.
Ricky Brinson, 25, Oklahoma City Thunder Ball Boy
Ricky’s friends always said he was too old to be a ball boy, that working your way up from the bottom doesn’t actually start there. He didn’t care. He’d always wanted to be Sam Presti, and if that meant he had to mop up sweat 40 times a year, he’d do it. Besides, the perks are worth it.
Nina Patel, 22, Student
Final biology exam finished, Nina was ready to parrrrtaaaaayyyyyyyy. In Oklahoma City, that means a Thunder game. Little did she know, she was going to be 30 feet from one of the most outstanding basketball plays in OKC history. She might not know what she’s doing after graduation, but this is a good way to start.
Tom “Manimal” Buchanan, 24, Data Entry Specialist
Work hard, play harder — that’s the motto Tom “Manimal” Buchanan lives his life by. If that means typing in so many numbers that his fingers hurt, then so be it. If that means pulling on his hair so it stands straight out, he’ll do it. If that means being the happiest person alive during a Thunder game, he’s there. No one’s going to party harder than Tom Buchanan. No one. And by the way, he had that nickname before Kenneth Faried.
Melissa Fleig, 38, Hairdresser
Melissa, “Melly” to her friends, has seen a lot in her day — fights in the parking lot, the Poison-Crüe reunion tour (twice), every dueling pianos bar in the Big 12 — but she’d never seen a shot quite like Russell Westbrook’s. That face you see is her “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” look, and it’s reserved for very, very special occasions.
Joshua Franks, 31, Security Guard
Joshua knew he wasn’t supposed to cheer. Not in his position and not with Metta World Peace anywhere near James Harden. He’s being paid to be a professional protector, not to root for some meaningless shot when there’s always a chance things turn bad. No matter how momentous the play, Joshua was keeping a straight face. Even if he’s never wanted to cheer harder.
Matt Barnes, 32, Professional Basketball Player
For some reason, Matt Barnes wasn’t very happy for Russell Westbrook. Maybe it’s because he wishes he was the one traded to the Rockets, only to be released and then join up with the NBA’s best young team. Maybe it’s because he knows that ever since he came to the Lakers, they’ve done nothing but get embarrassed. Maybe it’s because he’s never figured out what to do with his hair. The world may never know.
Stuart Donaldson, 49, Pest Control Salesman
All Stuart Donaldson ever wanted was a high-five during a major sporting event. Would that be too much to ask? Sure, throwing your hands in the air in celebration is a great feeling, but Stuart is a community builder, the kind of guy who likes to rally the troops behind a good cause. A simple high-five can go a long way, so Stuart made it his one-man mission to get everyone on the same page. Unfortunately, Stuart’s never been much of a motivator.
Brenda Whitecotton, 62, Gardener
“Oh, that Russell Westbrook is too cute with his snazzy little shirts. I’m so happy for him. I bet he’s a nice boy. Maybe I’ll bake him a pie. I wonder if he likes boisenberry. Oh, or rhubarb. I bet Russy loves rhubarb. I’ll stop by the farmer’s market tonight.”
Kevin Jernigan, 20, Student
As he left the dorm that night, Kevin told his roommate, “Something special is going to happen to me tonight.” Kevin always said this, but something told him that he was right this time. A few hours later, water bottle filled with vodka that he stashed in one of his shorts’ numerous cargo pockets now empty, Kevin was finally right. His friends back at the Adams Center would have to hear this story time and time again for the next six weekends, but least it was a good story.