The Last Thing the Internet Needs Now


Crappy New Year, Everyone
December 31, 2008, 12:43 am
Filed under: Sports | Tags: ,

I’m sorry, I feel like being a bitch and saying I TOLD YOU SO. The post is called “Are Six On the Way Out?” Scroll past the trade stuff and read the bullet points … although the trade stuff isn’t really surprising either, except for Desmond Mason’s name being kicked about in trade speculation. But … but … he’s an OSU Cowboy! He’s one of us (even if his college days are now really really really small in the rearview mirror, and he’s not really “one of us” since he was born in Waxahatchie, Texas.

I can’t say I enjoy seeing the Thunder get absolutely clowned on ESPN every night (that is, if ESPN bothers to even show highlights of whatever team the Thunder is playing against) because, in the eyes of some, by clowning the Thunder, by extenstion you also clown Oklahoma City (I don’t feel that way, but I know a few people that do. I thought Oklahoma as a whole has clowned itself pretty badly by turning extra extra red, but this isn’t a political post). You had to know that this wasn’t going to be a picnic — or instant respect for Oklahoma’s capital city. I hate to say it but OKC has had it coming given how the Thunder — once the Seattle Supersonics* — got here.

Let’s face it. The only sport that the majority of Oklahomans still care about is OU Sooners football — which itself has a lot to prove in the BCS Championship Game in a week against Florida. Did the owners of the Thunder (at least one of whom is a bigtime donor to his alma mater) think they’d really undo generation upon generation of college football love by bringing NBA basketball here?

What were they thinking?

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*Footnote: This post is quite old and assumes an Oklahoma City team would play in the Southwest Division. The Thunder, in fact, are still part of the Northwest Division despite the fact they are now geographically nowhere near the Northwest. But neither are division rivals Denver and Minnesota. The NBA — Where Geographical Confusion Happens, I suppose.

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So, How’s That “Big League City” Stuff Going For You?
November 28, 2008, 7:23 pm
Filed under: Sports | Tags: , , ,

They’re 1-15 (as of this writing, November 28), with a 13-game losing streak. Their new fans have actually booed them. At this moment they appear to be the laughingstock of the association that brings us Not Basketball Anymore. How do you like them apples, Oklahoma City? So far every time the Thunder (!) gets mentioned on ESPN, they’re being shown getting humiliated, pwned, insert your favorite negative adjective here, whether its by the lowly LA Clippers (one of the worst teams in the Western Conference) or the contending Cleveland Cavaliers (a game in which LeBron James was only needed for about 17 minutes). And given the circumstances of how the team wound up in Oklahoma City, it isn’t like the Thunder are going to be lovable losers like the Cubbies (or even pathetic losers like the NFL’s Detroit Lions). Was this what everybody had in mind when they wanted to do this to raise Oklahoma City’s profile beyond it being that city with the tornadoes?

And not surprisingly, this is music to the ears of embittered Seattle Supersonics fans (and some of us Oklahomans who didn’t like the idea of taking Seattle’s 41-year old NBA franchise, moving it to a significantly smaller media market and rebranding it in horrifically bad fashion). Can you blame them? There is a lot of blame to go around in the saga of the final days of the Seattle Supersonics, but not everybody in Oklahoma wanted a bunch of big money men to up and buy the Sonics and exploit what had become a toxic political situation to their advantage — which is what they did, plain and simple. The ones who REALLY got screwed in this deal — as always — are the FANS in Seattle.

I don’t blame Seattle fans for being bitter, nor do I blame them for laughing at Oklahoma City at damn near every turn (provided they understand that not all Oklahomans wanted this, and some Oklahomans are Blue instead of brainwashed), and nor do I blame them for the thoroughly hateful feelings they have for Clay Bennett and the ownership group, and for NBA Commissioner David Stern — a man who has been wearing out his welcome as the head of the league for some time now. In a time of economic downturn I can’t help but feel a little bit of glee at watching very rich men start feeling the pinch in their wallets.

Between Oklahoma being The Reddest State in the Union and the home of The Worst Team in the NBA, what’s a filthy dirty liberal that loves sports to do? Even the worst team in the Eastern Conference, the Washington Wizards, at 2-11 and also playing under an interim head coach, are slightly more fortunate. The only difference between DC and Oklahoma City is that everybody knows what place you’re talking about when you say “DC.” When you say “Oklahoma City,” people still go “huh?” And hey, gotta rub salt in the wounds of the McCain/Palin groupies one more time: DC is Barack Obama‘s future residence. Suck it Pubs.

But maybe the ownership group realizes (if they are in this for the long haul and this really isn’t just a plaything they can use to curry favor from the rest of the state and to just hear “OKC” on ESPN every night, regardless of context), they have to actually make it successful on the court in order to breed success off the court. They fired head coach PJ Carlesimo (a somewhat overdue move) after the first game of a home-and-home against the New Orleans Hornets (the team Oklahoma City put up and fell in love with for two seasons following Katrina), and did so under a midnight cloak before flying to New Orleans for the second game of the home-and-home. Oh yeah, and that Friday night game was a nationally televised beatdown of the highest order. I’m not sure the Thunder will have an opportunity to be nationally televised the rest of the season (while NBA broadcast schedules can change over the course of a season, it doesn’t happen that much).

To be fair, it’s still too early to assess what kind of impact interim head coach Scott Brooks will have on this team. To his credit, he’s younger than Carlesimo, maybe this is just me but players seem to relate better to guys who actually PLAYED in the NBA as Brooks did (as opposed to Carlesimo, who hasn’t suited up for a game since 1971 at Fordham). There has been some positive reax/speculation about Brooks moving Kevin Durant back to his natural position (small forward), but it’s still a little too early to see what difference that’ll make. Desmond Mason has yet to play a game with Brooks running the show (sprained elbow — he is coming off the bench tonight versus Minnesota). Little things like that may make a difference at the season wears on.

Thre is still a lot of season left. We’ll see.

(Before I actually hit the PUBLISH button, I might mention that at halftime, the Thunder are leading the Timberwolves 48-44. Minnesota is the only team the Thunder have beaten this season. So perhaps they’ll be 2-15 by the end of tonight. Doesn’t change the fact there’s still a lot of work to do in OKC).