Letter #669: The Real MVP

Dear MVP,

The glasses. The suit. The bus carrying the team. The individual recognition of every teammate and coach. The commercial worthy tribute to mom. The genuine fight through tears. The moment.

You couldn’t have written a better moment than this.

The humility. “I’m usually good at talking, but I’m a little nervous today.”

The rawness. “I don’t know why I’m crying so much man.” Through tears to his mom: “You’re the real MVP.”

The authenticity and perspective. “First off, I’d like to thank God for changing my life. Basketball’s just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that.”

The vulnerability and admission of failure. “We disappoint you guys sometimes, but we try our best every single night. You love us as we are. We’re all a work in progress as men.”

I cannot get over what happened last Tuesday afternoon as Kevin Durant accepted his first NBA MVP award.

In a very me-centered industry and world, the moment quickly became about everybody else. The Thunder wouldn’t be the Thunder without KD. Everyone knows that. But what could have been the Durant Show turned into something so special people are still talking about it”…KD acknowledging, praising and thanking every person who’s been part of his journey to be named the best basketball player this season.

Kevin Durant took a moment that could have, and in the world’s eyes should have, been all about him and made it about something greater than himself.

Leadership. That’s what we were all privileged to watch.

He isn’t perfect. In fact, he’s no different than any of us: a work in progress. I’m extremely cautious to elevating him, but it seems evident he’s striving. And according to his speech, he’s found his something greater. “Last I’d like to thank God again. He’s the first and the last, Alpha and Omega. Thanks for saving my life.”

KD, your platform is vast. Thanks for and keep using it to point to something greater.

Cheering you on from afar,


If you haven’t watched this, it’s a must. Full 26 minutes…SO worth it. 7 minutes of highlights.

And on this Mother’s Day, shout out to my real MVP, Mama Roth! The only fitting card for Mother’s Day 2014!


Letter #616: The Grind House


Dear spontaneity,

The last 16 hours have been the epitome of you. Thunder vs. Grizzlies, Game 4 in Memphis”…and I was in attendance. Last week I was sitting in a meeting. I got a couple repeated calls from friend, so I shot her a text to make sure she wasn’t dying. She informed me she could get playoff tickets for a pretty reasonable price and wanted to know if I was in.

Mind you, 10 days before that I had very flippantly joked that if she could get cheap tickets, I’d hop on Seaport Air (my trusty 8 passenger plane out of Harrison, AR) and come. It would never happen, right?! Now it was time to put my money where my mouth was.


Sometimes it just feels like our personal plane…

Within an hour I got ahold of my roommate and we were in! You see, she just got engaged (congrats!) and we’ve been talking about going to a Thunder game for years. This was potentially our last chance as I move to camp and she moves to North Carolina. We’re both planners. We don’t just decide on a whim to hop a flight for a 16 hour trip. This time, we did!!

6:15 flight. 7:15 land. 8:30 tip-off. Thankfully delays were minimal and Seaport pulled through for me yet again! After getting berated through the streets of downtown Memphis for our Thunder gear, we rolled into our seats at 8:15.

Definite highlight…live band while waiting in line to get in! Mom & Pops, I found my wedding band!!!

A Thunder playoff game has been on my bucket list since their inception. Just checking things off! The Grind House is full of energy. NBA games are just fun. Lively atmosphere for sure and my boys came out of the gates looking good. After giving up a 17 point lead, it turned into a close game. It was as if we didn’t even really want it. I distinctly remember four offensive rebounds given up in the last four minutes of regulation.

Not bad for the cheap seats!!

A miracle shot by KD sent it to OT which I was totally OK with to get more of my money’s worth. Turnovers, poor shot selection and too many second chances for the Grizz proved to be too much to overcome. Thunder down 3-1 in the series”…I guess if we get knocked out, I’ll care less about the playoffs as I move to and start camp!

Game time!
Walkin’ in Memphis…walkin’ with my feet ten feet off of Beale!

A win would’ve made the trip that much sweeter, but regardless it was an absolute blast. You only live once. I believe in making memories. I need to live in you more often. It’s good to have plans in life, but every once in a while we just need to go and have fun.

Even when it means driving back to Branson at 5:30am and moving to camp the same afternoon.

Here’s to making memories,

Thunder Fan

Letter #226: Thunder!!!!

Dear Thunder,

It’s insane how much I care about you. I’ve watched more basketball in the last two weeks than this entire season combined. You could say that means I’m a bandwagon fan, but this is far from the truth. I’ve been a fan from day one. The difference is I actually have cable this season and last year I was living on a remote island. Golly, you have me hooked.

I love your youngness. The loyalty of your fans. The class of your players at least from the outside. Your ability to rally an entire state around you. The way you have turned storms that we all dread into an even more exciting atmosphere for you to play in.

I love your apparel and the what I see to be solid work ethic. The enthusiasm of your bench.  The way you’ve brought life and a stronger economy to OKC. Your post game interviews and tweets…yes, I follow players! The blue and white outs at the stadium. The OKC chant.

Basically I love everything about you, and I look forward to game 7. Let’s pull this one out please. Besides, it’ll be the last of your games I’ll get to see before moving to camp (live-stream internet website suggestions are welcome!), so let’s go out with a bang.

In need of a piece of your gear to rep you in life and at K-West,

Thundering Up all the way from Branson

Letter #57: Thunder Up!

Dear OKC Thunder,

To kick off potentially the greatest sports week of my life (Thunder, Dallas, Auburn, Bedlam), I attended my very first game from six rows up! You guys are fun. You also play with class, especially considering the majority of your players are younger than me. It is evident that your guys love playing together and want to succeed as a team rather than just playing for themselves. And this is a definite minor, but it was fun to see a majority of your players clean cut and not tatted up.

I’ve been a fan of you since the beginning. I’m not a die hard NBA fan, but you are my team. You singlehandedly enhanced the quality of life of an Oklahoman! Young people have more of a reason to be attracted to getting jobs here because there is more entertainment…you provide more incentive for me to move back here eventually…maybe.

You provide a really fun atmosphere and have good, reasonably priced frozen yogurt (always a key to my heart). We didn’t have a chance to eat dinner before so we also got “Thunderdogs.’ Literally a footlong hot dog…bad choice the night before Thanksgiving! Every timeout had some form of entertainment, which was fun, but people watching might have been my favorite form. Not only have you provided events for young professionals to attend, you’ve formed a setting for businesses to “schmooze’ potential customers, employees, partners, etc. Hilarious to watch all the schmoozing!

Although you lost, you were the perfect way to spend Wednesday night of Thanksgiving week! I’m thankful for my parent’s life group being willing to share their tickets with my Dad and I. Great night with great people, and now that I’ve seen you live, I’ll be “Thunderin’ Up’ even more!

Thunder up,

Even bigger fan of you than I was before