I’m not sure if one of the highlights of my journalism career will be covering the final game of Oklahoma City Thunder head basketball coach P.J. Carlesimo.
I was excited when I arrived in the press room to find out I would be sitting behind the scorer’s table for the historic game between the Thunder and New Orleans Hornets. With the Hornets, I usually sat on the baseline with a great up close view of the game. Sitting behind the scorer’s table meant I had to be on my best behavior.
The crowd gave a nice welcome during the introduction of the visiting Hornets players. Hornets’ owner George Shinn got to sit in his favorite chair courtside across from his team, just as he did when the Hornets called Oklahoma City home.
But the warmness from the Thunder faithful didn’t last long. They booed when the refs blew the whistle against their team. Thunder-sticks were rattling while Hornet players shot free throws.
But midway through the second quarter, the crowd was clearly losing interest in the game. Might have been because the Thunder was down by 20 points with a shooting percentage lower than Pres. Bush’s approval ratings.
About the only time the crowd got into anything came during timeouts when the free t-shirts were tossed in the stands.
At one point during the second half, the announcer gave an emphatic “C’mon fans” to pump any excitement into the air.
How bad of night was it? Even the loud system went out during the Thunder Girls dance routine.
And that ends the really, really short-lived career of the Thunder’s first head coach. “Scott Cooper