There are a lot of things you probably know about Oklahoma City Thunder GM and Executive Vice President Sam Presti. He was a Rhodes Scholar; enjoys planning, flexibility, and patience; popularized the phrase “Oklahoma Standard;” lucked into Kevin Durant; and will go down in history as the man who pulled the trigger on one of the worst, most one-sided NBA trades in NBA history. (See Harden, James.)
But there are some other things you may not know about Sam. From what I’ve heard, he’s a bit of a micromanager. Ever wonder why the Thunder routinely has one of the most boring pre-game videos in the NBA, featuring blocks, charges, and dives out-of-bounds in favor of exciting highlight reel dunks, alley oops and game winning shots? It’s because that’s what Presti wants. He wants everything to be about the team and defense, and not the individual accomplishments of the players we pay to see.
Presti is also a musician. It’s rarely brought up, but it is briefly noted in his Thunder bio:
An accomplished drummer, Presti has produced three music CDs with all proceeds benefiting the Extra Ordinary Needs Fund at Children’s Hospital in Boston.
An accomplished drummer? That’s kind of cool, because it means Presti and I share the same favorite muppet. Is there a cooler muppet than Animal? You know that when Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem go out on tour, Animal always got the best groupies. It also explains why the organization routinely features those boring Thunder drummers.
Anyway, I bring all this up because Jeff Wade, a sports radio host from Dallas, somehow got his hands on one of Sam Presti’s early CDs and tweeted a pic of it yesterday. The CD was released in 1999, one year before Presti began an internship with the San Antonio Spurs that would eventually lead to the every-man’s-dream-job that he has today.
Yesterday afternoon, the day after their sports department was widely criticized around the country for how they handled Berry Tramel’s edited, link-troubled column about Russell Westbrook’s “I don’t like you” dig, NewsOK.com plastered the following ad for their sports department all over the site. I’m sure it was just a coincidence, and had nothing to do with crisis management:
As a bad Seinfeld impersonator would say, who’s the ad genius that came up with that one?
I guess the message they’re trying to convey is The Oklahoman’s local sports coverage is the best because they have the biggest sports team in the state. As a guy who gets most of his Thunder news from DailyThunder.com, I would totally agree. As I tell my lovers, bigger is alway better. It’s why McDonald’s cooks the best hamburgers, Walmart sells the best groceries, and the Blue Whale is everyone’s favorite animal.
I also like how the OPUBCO copywriters brag about how the sports department delivers “more stories, more content and more insight” than anyone else. Yeah, isn’t that the truth. Who doesn’t read a Jenni Carlson column in the morning and scream “Wow. What amazing insight?!” before taking their pills and masturbating to anime porn. Seriously, insight in The Oklahoman? That would be like us saying we provide more courteous, thoughtful and respectful commentary than anyone.
Anyway, this gave me an idea. We should have one of those Photoshop contest things where we create our own fake ads for the The Oklahoman sports department.
Here are a few examples I rushed out
The “State’s Most Trusted News” is back at it.
In case you missed it, Russell Westbrook gave one of the best regular season performances of his NBA career on Friday night during a blowout win over the short-handed, but still formidable, Golden State Warriors at Chesapeake arena.
He celebrated the performance by doing what thousands of Oklahoma City residents have wanted to do at least once or twice over the years. He told Berry Tramel that he didn’t like him.
Like most people, I kind of had a rocky start with Westbrook. I couldn’t come to terms with his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde playing style. On one trip down the court, he could take your breath away like Alexandra Daddario in True Detective and slam an electrifying dunk over a stumbling, overmatched defender. On the next possession, he could take your breath away via a punch to the gut by heaving a 23-foot pull up jump shot with 20-seconds left on the shot clock, leaving you red-faced and furious like you just watched the True Detective finale.
Over the past couple of years, though, Westbrook has grown on me. In fact, I can now say he’s officially surpassed Kevin Durant as my favorite player on the team. After several sessions of intense therapy, I’m now able to take the good with the bad, and marvel at Westbrook’s full-throttle, Hell’s Bells playing style. That attitude and confidence carries over to his off-court personality, which I equally admire. It’s so refreshing to hear a player on the Thunder speak his mind and do what he wants to do, rather than give the same canned response like:
“It was a good win. The coaches put together a great gameplan and I just trusted my teammates. We played hard and together on defense and gave great effort. When you trust your teammates, they make you better, and that leads to important victories over a great team like the Warriors. Did you get that for my HBO series? Who’s ready for some Fro-yo!”
Sorry, I got sidetracked. Let’s get back to the whole point of this blog posting.
After going silent as Russ’s post-game shenanigans hit the heavy-rotation on Sports Center and went viral on YouTube, Berry “Boomer” Tramel finally responded with a column today on NewsOK.com. It was preachy, heavy-handed, self-righteous, ignored certain truths, and came across as a little bit folksy.
It’s was also removed from NewsOK.com only a few minutes after being published.
Wait? What? They pulled a Berry Tramel column. BULLFEATHERS! Did NewsOK.com think it was Richard Hall clickbait (more on that later) or Jenni Carlson. Nope, according to NewsOK.com, they were having problems with “the link.”
Update on Berry Tramel's column: The link wasn't working on all formats so we're doing some maintenance. Some were seeing Article Not Found
— NewsOK (@NewsOK) January 19, 2015
@royceyoung the link wasn't working on all formats so we're doing some maintenance.
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) January 19, 2015
That’s a new one. Yes, despite every other article on the site working fine, they’re having some “link problems.” Let me just say that as a guy who has published thousands of blog posts and doesn’t have any IT guys or web developers on staff, that we’ve never had that issue. If you buy that excuse, I got a premium Oklahoman subscription I’d like to sell to you for only $50 a month.
Obviously, the very logical conspiracy theory here is that Clay Bennett had his minions with The Thunder Ministry of Propaganda contact OPUBCO management to pull the article for some quick “editing.” That would make sense. Of course, what do I know? I thought Woody Harrelson’s father-in-law was behind all the murders in True Detective. I’m not good at conspiracy theories.
Anyway, after a few hours, NewsOK.com got their “link issues” worked out and put Boomer Tramel’s article back on the site, and oddly enough, it lacked very interesting and key sentence from Berry’s article.
As it’s edited now, this is how the columns ends. Mind you, this is after about 1,000 word of exposition and whining by Tramel:
Image courtesy of William Bennett Berry.
So it’s Cyber Monday, and that means everyone is flocking to the internet to get cheap deals on the latest stuff that they’ll never need Meanwhile, in basketball world, KD and Westbrook are both both in the process of returning from injury, and the Thunder are returning to relevancy. So there’s no better time to hop on the bandwagon and show your support by filling your house, car, and office with Thunder-related memorabilia. I mean, you could just go down to Goodwill and buy one of the Thunder shirts that are selling for $1.50, but that would require putting on shoes.
And a hat. Why not this one?
This looks as if it was made by some overachieving Boy Scout hyped up on too much Mountain Dew. Really, it’s a cheap piece of fur slapped onto a normal Thunder hat. But if you had the gall to wear it in public, everyone would know that there was probably some convoluted story behind it involving family drama. So slap on the cap and enjoy the awkward elephants in the room.
Of course, we all can’t wear caps. How about something for the women?
Image courtesy of William Bennett Berry.
It’s almost scary to think that it was six years ago….
Back in 2008, the Thunder were the biggest joke of the NBA. They had a roster packed with overpaid journeymen and long-forgotten prospects, mixed with a few diamonds of young talent. Oklahoma City was certainly excited to have a team to call their own, but everybody knew that the roster was far worse than what the Hornets had to offer. Pretty much everything about the Thunder, including the logo, seemed thrown together at the last minute. I mean, the in-arena entertainment re-played “Everybody Clap Your Hands” six times every game, games airing on TV were rife with technical errors, and the team was run by a coach whose most notable NBA accomplishment was getting choked by Latrell Sprewell.
Things improved quickly, though. Even in that first 23 win, 59 loss season, there were moments of glory. KD got into scoring battles with Melo, and we managed to steal a couple of games from playoff teams. By the time the winter of 2009 rolled around, the Thunder were winning regularly and OKC had fully embraced them.
For a long time, I thought the image of the Oklahoma City Thunder as a bad team would never return. That is…..until this year’s team was hit with the injury plague of the century.
As it stands, the Thunder are 1-4 over their first five games, and will likely field their weakest lineup of the year on tonight against the Grizzlies. Perry Jones was the one shining ray of hope during the first five games, as he’d picked up a few of KD’s old offensive sets and proven himself able to score. Unfortunately, PJIII hurt his knee in Tuesday’s game, effectively destroying the Thunder’s lineup for the time being. I’m expecting the Thunder to get at least another player back from injury by the time Sunday’s game rolls around. Thus, Friday night will likely be your last opportunity to tune in and watch one of the worst Oklahoma City Thunder teams you’ll ever see.
One important question remains. Are tonight’s injury plagued Thunder better than the opening night 2008 Thunder? Which team is the worst Thunder team of all-time? Let’s break it down.
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