Now, picture this: a little island in the middle of the Aegean sea. Not many inhabitants, not many tourists, the sun always shining, great beaches, and most importantly, great food. Add a couple of days in Greece’s capital Athens, where the Greek Freak Giannis grew up, and where temples were raised for the old gods.
There it is: you have a perfect setup to escape not only Berlin, Germany but also the ordinary life.
I decided I would take a break from social media, Netflix, and whatever keeps you glued to a monitor. I thought it would be easy. Why? I mean, it was supposed to be a quiet summer on Oklahoma City’s front. Paul George with still two full years of contracts, Russell Westbrook, the face of the franchise ready for another ride, Ferguson and Grant are supposed to improve, the addition of Burke, Muscala, and Noel coming back for cheap.
Everything pointed to at least one more year of great basketball in Oklahoma City. Plus, all the dust from the free agency period was almost settled. Sure we still didn’t know where Leonard would play next season, but Thunder fans could just watch the league change without too many worries. So, this is my mindset the day I was packing.
Damn, I was wrong.
So you have the whole scene set up right? Ok, cool.
I wake up on Saturday morning, July 6th. The sun, of course, is already shining on the balcony of my apartment. I take every bit of it while I start my mourning training routine. Everything is smooth and perfect. I finish my training, grab the cold bottle of water, and just checked my phone to see if my mom wrote the usual good morning message. Little did I know that my holiday was about to change. A notification pops up that Paul George was traded to the Clippers. In a millisecond I felt like the clouds covered the whole sky, and rain started to drop from the sky. I had to read that again, multiple times, open Twitter, and scroll the whole thing. Paul George has been traded to the Clippers, and Leonard signed as well with the second team of Los Angeles.
I have never been so confused since I read Durant’s next chapter letter on July 4th, 2016. Alright, I thought, there goes my social media-NBA-Twitter-monitors free holiday. And tell me again, why did I leave my laptop at home?
It sounded obvious that after George left, Westbrook was up next. No way he is going to stay during his prime for a semi-rebuilding team. Gallo, Shai, and a bunch of first-round picks won’t cut it to convince the face of the franchise to ride again in Thunder blue.
So while I am trying to enjoy my holiday, and believe me I really did (Greece is awesome, you should go if you didn’t already), the Thunder traded Jerami Grant to the Denver Nuggets for another first-round pick. I knew that at any minute I would see the notification that Russell Westbrook has been traded as well. I hoped for two things: first, please trade him after I am back home in Berlin. Second, please let it be the Miami Heat because, to be honest with you, come on, the Rockets? For real? But of course, on the last morning in Athens, before leaving the hotel to go to the airport, there it is: Russell Westbrook has been traded to the Houston Rockets for Chris Paul and more picks.
It is official now: the end of an era for the Oklahoma City Thunder. While my taxi drives me at an uncontrolled speed to the airport a lot of memories crash into my head, bad and good, but mostly fun ones.
The upcoming season probably will not bring many wins to Thunder’s fan, but I am pretty sure it’s going to be exciting with SGA, Ferguson, Diallo, Burton, and all the others, running up and down the court for some magical moment to remember for years to come.