By RANDY SMITH

As a Bahamian, I can guarantee you it is ok to be a “bandwagon” fan, ESPECIALLY when it comes to basketball.

I know it’s hard to face the feeling of guilt that engulfs you when you start to like a player from another team, or admire another team’s style of play.

I also know that we have a thing about being loyal to an organization, but why? We live miles away from the places our teams call home, long-term deals are less common, and aside from buying one jersey in the last 10 years, what other connection do we have with the team?

Maybe after hearing my story, you’ll be compelled to follow your heart, the numbers and not your pride when you choose a team to follow this season.

I began rooting for the OKC Thunder in 2009. Yes, I was a Kobe fan too, but I felt it was time to try something new.

So, I migrated to the new, hip team on the market, which featured three likeable, solid young players. Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. The team flourished, made the finals in 2012 and faced a tough decision the following season, paying Harden or Serge Ibaka. They chose Ibaka, which seemed like a decent decision at the time, seeing that he was such a good defender.

My issue with the move was that Harden was my favorite of the core three. I admired his playmaking ability, and at the time, he was actually a pretty good defender.
So, the next year Harden jumps out with a bang in Houston, and I begin to follow the Rockets loosely. I’m still rolling with OKC at this point, because the combination of Durant and Westbrook is still something special. Unfortunately, the duo splits the following season, and although I like Westbrook’s game, I’m stuck with the person I liked the least of the three.
I held out through the year after KD that was nothing more than a one-man, isolation show, and also watched us pick up Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to form some kind of formidable lineup. However, we know how that ended. During this time, I also watched Houston develop into an offensive juggernaut, and saw KD make the Warriors arguably the greatest team ever.

This season, I’m still probably not going to like OKC’s style, the Warriors will dominate once again, and Houston will use Melo in a way that no one dreamed of. Honestly, why should I deny myself the joy of pulling for a team and system (Houston) that I like to watch? Just to say I’m loyal to Oklahoma? I’ve never been there, and have no intention of visiting anytime soon. So why must I sit through 82 games of inefficient, isolation ball?

I think local Lebron fans had it right all along. Why should I stick with a team through ups and downs? Just because? Doubt it. Times change, and it’s ok for us to change with them, seeing that we have no attachments to any of these places.

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