Darnell Mayberry, The Oklahoman's diminutive NBA beat writer, alerted fans today of eight-game ticket packages on sale now. Among the packages is the coveted "Rivalry Pack":
The "Rivalry Pack” features games against Atlanta on Nov. 9; Cleveland on Dec. 21; Denver on Jan. 2; Utah on Jan. 14; Sacramento on Feb. 8; New Orleans on Feb. 17; San Antonio on March 16; and Portland on April 3.Since the Thunder has never played any one of these basketball teams, I'm guessing by "rivalry" we're still referring to Portland. Many a Northwest basketball fan was dismayed by the fact that the revered "I-5 Rivalry" would be no more. Chin up, hippies! Evidently the rivalry lives on!
The Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder will continue to duke it out for Northwest* supremacy, but perhaps we need to give this series a new name. We could call it the "I-84 to I-80 to I-25 to I-70 to I-35" Rivalry. Or maybe the "Google Maps Cup". That has a nice ring to it.
There's nothing like artificial significance and manufactured history straight from the marketing department to energize the Thunder faithful. God I hate those Portlanders!
I'm sure most Thunder fans can't wait to make the quick 1,920 mile, 28 hour drive to Portland this year. It's tradition. But fans will have to be patient, because Portland won't host their bitter division foe until February 11. Weird how that worked out. And all you history buffs should refrain from wearing your Thunder throwbacks this year, because it's possible they're already doing that.
*Note: Many Pacific Northwesterners have complained that the NBA is taking away all their basketball teams (i.e. Seattle, Vancouver). This is wrong. The Great Northwest still has Portland, Utah, Denver, Minnesota and Oklahoma City.