As a lover of hour glasses, I’m sure that somewhere in the world there exists someone who finds beauty in watching that sand slowly pore down through the force of gravity, the visual representation of time, and that individual is a soul that could relate to what we are now witnessing unfold with the Oklahoma City Thunder, once thought to be the future of the NBA.
A little less than a year to this day, it wasn’t that there was the now ever present shadow befalling this franchise but instead with the kind of bright future that would make someone believe they were travelling through a cosmos of stars, radiating life before you and making each moment seem like it might surpass its former. With Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, the Thunder arguably had captured the three brightest, the belt of Orion in comparison to the rest of the league, in one solar system, on one NBA roster.
Not only that, but these stars radiated and helped the other along, creating a chain, a brotherhood of NBA talent that you believed would stick with one another through thick and thin, the inevitable fights and the celebrating and tears that was destined to be attained by them. In the trio, the Thunder possessed not only three superstars but three superstars that loved one another like blood brothers.
Unfortunately, we know what events transpired before the beginning of the 2012-2013 NBA season and the almost now grief about what we were robbed of potentially seeing. In my eyes, it was the basketball equivalent of Nikola Tesla, John Lennon or Michelangelo taking shape before our eyes, whether through the beginning inventions that you just felt came from someone that was a good different, a sound being produced that you just quite didn’t understand were possible to feel that way to the ears and heart or a small sculpture that made you know bigger were ahead.
Only in our reality, we never saw those minds reach their pinnacle, we never witnessed them form innovation, melody or artwork. We saw their destruction before our eyes, the disassembling of something you just felt was destined to be something we were to reminisce about as old men and women one cold morning over a warm coffee at the kitchen table.
At present, what we are left with are just pieces that appeal, like a broken jewel, on their own, still possess the sparkle that its whole once did but not the kind that would intrigue one to buy it. Similarly, James Harden now calls the Houston Rockets his band of brothers, teamed with Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons, attempting I believe to ultimately recreate what once was in Oklahoma City with Durant and Westbrook.
Meanwhile, the bright future that the Thunder now seemed already scratched into the history books for now looks murkier than ever. With the injury to Westbrook, there even existed a moment when you thought that the feeling and sights of what we had witnessed in years past would forever disappear in the literal blink of an eye. Though we can consider ourselves fortunate that was not the case, with Durant and Westbrook once again terrorizing the league together, I can’t help but feel I am not the only one who now views the team as something that just doesn’t bring that same warming feeling over anymore.
Aside from Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefelosha and Steven Adams, the remaining roster looks like one that was thrown together in desperation, one that lacks a real feel of belonging as one beautiful pot by just looking at the individual shattered or disconnected pieces.
Essentially, the time that the Thunder were seen as the growing wolf on the field of tiring, aging animals, that convergence of power that was destined to surge for a decade in Oklahoma City, has come and gone.
It will be years, maybe even decades, before we start to truly appreciate what horror transpired on October 28th, 2012 but rest assured, no matter where each of us are in the world at that moment that first mourner of lost basketball history appears on the world, if you still love the NBA at the moment you will feel as I feel now.