The Oklahoma City Thunder were a team of destiny -- until they weren't.
A dream postseason, filled with buzzer-beaters, sensational highlights and a Western Conference title, ended swiftly on Thursday night, when the Miami Heat defeated them in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to win the 2012 title.
The Heat wound up prevailing in blowout fashion, giving LeBron James and Dwyane Wade the opportunity to exit the court to a standing ovation, and also providing an opportunity to Thunder coach Scott Brooks to deliver one last in-game speech of the season.
Cameras in the Thunder's huggle caught his words, which exemplified the class that the Thunder organization strives for and the humility that has endeared them to so many other fanbases over the last two seasons.
"Unfortunately, we didn't get it done this year," Brooks said as he looked around the huddle, making eye contact with his players. "There's no way any of your guys should keep your head down. Keep it up. Keep doing what you've done. Build yourself up this summer, get better, that's what we're about. We're about staying together, we're about playing for each other, we're about staying together as a family."
In addition to that positive reinforcement, Brooks added a call for sportsmanship.
"One last thing, guys," he said. "We're going to treat them like they're the champions. After this game, we're going to walk and shake their hands and acknowledge all of them. They beat us fair and square. They beat us fair and square. However hard that hurts, they still beat us fair and square."