The Los Angeles Lakers have Jack Nicholson, the New York Knicks have Spike Lee and the Oklahoma City Thunder have………Hanson?
The Tulsa based band of brothers, famous for the chart-topping 1997 smash “MMMbop,” are huge fans of their home state’s NBA team, so much so that first track on their upcoming album Anthem is being used by the team as a rally video on FOX Sports Oklahoma telecasts.
“When we first started writing stuff for Anthem, one of the first songs that came up was the song “Fired Up” which the Thunder are using,” eldest brother Issac, 32, who refers to himself as the “sports nerd” of the group, said. ”It came up in the writing process at the end of the previous album. We always said that it feels really sports friendly.”
Despite living 90 miles away, Issac Hanson holds season tickets for the Thunder and the band has sang the national anthem prior to several games in the past few seasons. Like fellow Oklahoma natives The Flaming Lips did last season, Hanson is excited about their track potentially becoming a rallying cry for the team as it continues its playoff chase.
“There is something special about the Thunder and the connection they have with this state and the fans,” singer Taylor Hanson, 30, said. ”That’s what you see with the Flaming Lips and Hanson doing music that works with the team. There is a organic connection and pride that the state has. It’s excitement to have a team that is a contender against the best teams around. That’s such a great thing to be able to root for and if you can have your music connect the dots.”
During their adolescent heyday, the band received an insane amount of attention from arenas full of screaming fans, so there’s a level of respect for how Kevin Durant has managed to handle his superstardom. For anyone who remembers the band’s debut, here’s a stat that’ll make you feel old. Every member of the band (even 27-year-old mop-haired youngest brother Zac) is a married father and at least several years older than the Thunder’s franchise player.
“I think Kevin Durant as a person is a pretty damn good dude. You can tell that about him,” Issac said. “He’s an extremely, extremely good basketball player but at the same time is not an unnecessarily cocky bastard. He could kill anyone on the court if he wanted to but at the same time he’s also the kind of guy who would probably be really fun to sit around and chat about random things with. He’d be a good hang, whether you’re a superstar or a guy at a local bar.”
Due to the band’s frequent travel, Issac Hanson isn’t able to make as many games as he’d like, but the band does ensure that their tour bus is equipped with the proper equipment to catch the Thunder, as well as Oklahoma Sooners football in the fall.
“A couple nights ago we were working on a song (during Game 5 against the Rockets Wednesday),” Taylor said. “But if there’s a game on, the iPhone is out, the score is being checked. We can finish that verse but we’ve got to catch the last ten minutes of the game. That’s in our weekly schedule. Are we missing any games?”
The band figures to be busy in the next month leading up to the June 18 release of Anthem, but are hopeful that their favorite team will be as well. The Thunder hold a slim 3-2 opening round series margin going into Friday’s Game 6 versus Houston. Without the services of star guard Russell Westbrook for the remainder of the playoffs, the Western Conference’s top seed will need all of the support they can get.
“They’re in a tricky spot. I think Memphis [who currently leads the Los Angeles Clippers 3-2 in their first round series] has got it one way or another. I think there’s a really good chance it’s going to be Oklahoma City and Memphis [in Round 2]. I’d be really surprised if the Thunder can’t win one game. That Memphis –Oklahoma City series is going to be really interesting. It’ll be interesting to see what role Fisher starts to play with all of his experience and how the team reassesses where they are. It’s a huge deal and everybody knows it.”