Don’t Call It A Choke

Photo credit: ESPN

After The Oklahoma Thunder lost Game 6 to the Golden State Warriors, tying the series at 3 all, the “choke” echo chamber started firing up.

Honestly, I’m completely over the ‘choking narrative’.

It’s lazy.

Why analyse the series when you can just yell “CHOKE”, right? Seven games worth of defensive rotations, pick and roll coverage, cross matches, game-to-game adjustments, shooting slumps – don’t worry about it. Just yell ‘choke’.

It’s dismissive.

The choke narrative completely ignores the fact that another team (The Warriors) was actively trying to beat them. And it completely minimises the sacrifice and hard work that the OKC players and coaches and staff made, not only for this series, but for the entire season.


It’s myopic.

Klay Thompson shot an NBA record 11 threes in Game 6. Klay and Steph beat the Playoff record for threes in a series, each. Yeah, OKC ‘choked’ though. The choke narrative ignores context.

It’s arbitrary.

What’s an appropriate number of wins or losses before a team chokes? If OKC went up 3-2 after a 2-2 tie and lost, is that still a choke?

It’s dickish, and do we really need more dick behaviour in the world?

If you’re a genuine GSW fan you’re excused, but for the rest of you: ease up. You just witnessed an incredible series in which both teams laid it all on the line in a Conference Finals matchup for the ages. Maybe take some time to appreciate it.

Karl Smith is a New Zealander living in Melbourne, Australia. He's an art and design, tech, and pop culture enthusiast. Previous gigs include musician, concierge, picture framer, designer and product manager.