There are ultimate fans and then there was Rodney Okai.
Okai was best known as the skinny Asian guy hanging over the front-row rail and sharing his “opinion” of officiating at UH basketball games.
He was a season-ticket holder in football and men’s basketball, although it was never apparent why he was charged full price. He never sat during games.
He was a supervisor at Oceanic who carefully planned his vacations. He would take off during San Francisco 49er playoff runs and for certain UH basketball trips.
To know Rodney was to know not to get married or have a yakudoshi party on a football Saturday or any night the basketball team would play.
He had become such a fixture at UH events, even before five basketball players were Fabulous, that he was entrusted to bring home the Rainbow Warriors’ 2001 WAC championship trophy. We’re not sure if he bought a plane ticket for the trophy.
His attendance at basketball games waned in recent years, mostly out of protest over the dismissal of Bob Nash as head coach. But he kept paying for his seats and, we hear, kept sharing his opinion on officiating.
Rodney recently passed away. The self-styled health advocate — he exercised regularly, took nutrients and didn’t eat dinners — was only 59.
He will be missed.
Even by the referees.
Our deepest sympathy to his wife and son.