Community tense as OKC Thunder face NBA Finals elimination

TULSA - For the first time, Thunder fans have to face the fact the fun could soon be over.

Team apparel has been a hot item in many Tulsa stores, but as the Thunder face elimination Thursday, some fear the commercial buzz is fading.

Mobile T-shirt shops around Tulsa continued existence depend on a victory.

"It slowed down here, there isn't much sales going on, I don't know if people are iffy about the game or what," said James Volnor, who works at one of many mobile T-shirt shops that have cropped up since the playoffs began.

Volnor says, as with anything, when they're winning it's good.

"If they lose, we make less money," said Volnor.

Down the road at Fat Daddy's Bar at 81st and Memorial, the Thunder have become a bright spot during what's normally the bar's slow season.

"We're the host of the official watch party for the Blue Alliance, a fan club sponsored by the Thunder," said Fat Daddy's owner Sean Melborn. "We are the only ones that can say we have the official watch party,"

Melborn says the watch parties have come a long way.

"We started a year ago and our first party had about 14 people," said Melborn. For Finals Games 2 and 3, Melborn says the bar was at capacity.

Now as the Thunder face elimination, he doesn't know what kind of turn out to expect for Thursday's critical Game 5.

"Tonight's going to be an interesting crowd to see if the diehards will still come out or stay home and watch," Melborn said.

A loss away from Finals finality, Melborn says the roller coaster ride the Thunder have brought to Tulsa has been well worth it.

 

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