Image courtesy of William Bennett Berry.
It’s been a long off-season, but we’re only a few weeks away from the regular season tip-off of Thunder basketball. But before we get into what our team will do on the court, let’s take a look back at what the players did over the Summer, using absolutely ridiculous social media posts and my personal anger as your guide.
So, here’s the Thunder’s off-season from my perspective. At the close of last season, the Thunder had three players under contract (Durant, Westbrook, and Ibaka) that should have played very major roles on international teams in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. I was excited, because I’m the only person in the world that really loves international basketball. Thus, I applied for press credentials and booked travel to Spain, along with travel to follow Team USA’s exhibitions. Shortly after I did that, Russell Westbrook decided not to play for Team USA. Then, disaster struck when Under Armour offered KD a lot of money, and Paul George forced KD to face his own mortality. Durant decided to quit Team USA in the middle of training camp. I was now stuck covering a team that had absolutely no relation to my Thunder-centric website. Serge Ibaka would be at the competition, but his team was staggered on the other side of the bracket, and thus at the other side of the country for the vast majority of the competition. As it would turn out, I’d never see Serge Ibaka play live.
So, how was Serge Ibaka’s 2014 FIBA competition? Well, I’d say it can be effectively summed up in this picture:
As I’m sure you’ve heard and seen by now, the Thunder officially revealed the name and logo of the team’s D-League franchise that’s relocating to Oklahoma City this season.
It’s the Oklahoma City Blue.
Yep, that’s right. Blue. Not blue cheese, blue bells or blue balls. Blue… as in the color. Expect a Jenni Carlson article any day now that praises the name and logo for its creativity. I bet Berry Tramel is even scribbling down a list of possible nicknames to use in his future columns about the team. $20 bucks he calls them the “Baby Boomers.”
The only thing more ridiculous than the name and logo – a vanilla monstrosity that’s so bland that I won’t post it on this obscure local social blog – is the Thunder’s reasoning for it.
Via a team press release:
After being busted by Channel 25 for having a poor credit score, Grant Long finally resigned as the Thunder’s TV color analyst a few weeks ago. It was sad news for those people who enjoyed Long’s deep knowledge of sports commentary clichés and ability to make any negative play seem positive through the art of twisted analysis. Listening to Long call a Thunder game was like listening to someone try to B.S. their way through a job interview – OKC’s only weakness was that they sometimes worked a little too hard:
“Russell Westbrook worked a little too hard to get the ball in there to Serge Ibaka, but great effort by Russ!
“Kevin Durant worked a little too hard to get to the basket there, but that’s okay, because he’s giving great effort.”
“Kendrick Perkins worked a little too hard to miss that open lay-up, but I love the effort by the big fella!”
Since his announcement, there’s been a lot of speculation on who will be Long’s replacement. In fact, The Oklahoman is now asking their readers to submit ideas.
There will be a new Thunder TV team in 2014-15.
We need to get this figured out. The combination of Brian Davis and Grant Long had become a Thunder television staple since the team arrived in 2008. But with Long resigning in July after six seasons on the Thunder broadcast, there’s a void that needs to be filled.
“The Thunder wishes Grant well and will immediately begin the search of finding his replacement,” the Thunder said in a release following Long’s resignation.
The search starts here. Who should be the next Thunder TV analyst?
Give us your suggestions in the comments section below, via Facebook, on our Twitter page or email email@example.com. Your suggestions don’t have to be someone with a long pedigree of broadcasting work. It can be anyone from a radio personality, to a former Thunder player.
We’ll run a special Main Event with your suggestions in Monday’s Oklahoman.
Okay guys, you know what we have to do. We have a mission and it’s an important one. Let’s flood The Oklahoman with suggestions that Jenni Carlson be the next Thunder TV analyst.
Here are some important reasons why:
Grant Long may want to start a Go Fund Me.
Last night, KOKH Channel 25 ran a sad investigative report into the finances of the Oklahoma City Thunder TV color analyst/ propagandist / creepy selfie taker. It centered around a high interest $5,000 loan that Grant never paid back to a local loan shark.
From KOKH Channel 25:
A local business owner says one of the television commentators for the Oklahoma City Thunder owes him thousands of dollars.
Larry Rowell is one of the owners of R&R Estate Jewelers in Northwest Oklahoma City. He deals in high-end jewelry and on occasion will provide small short-term loans.
“I do loans to help folks that need help,” Rowell said. He doesn’t usually ask why people need quick cash, but Rowell says he’s never had problems doing occasional loans. He said he usually only loans out a few hundred dollars at a time.
Rowell told Fox 25 that was his expectation when the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Grant Long walked into his store. Long is the color television analyst for Thunder games who Rowell says asked for a $5,000 loan.
“The premise was that he just needed some emergency money and he was going to take care of it next month,” Rowell said, “It felt logical and I went along with it.”
Yeah, I’m sure it seemed really logical that Grant Long, a guy who earned over $21,000,000 during his NBA playing career and likely brings in low six-figures stuttering his way through Thunder TV broadcasts, was in a jam and needed $5,000 in emergency money at 20% interest. It’s not like he has any wealthy friends or connections from the basketball world that could loan him the money.
Rowell said Long also promised to introduce his store to some of the Thunder players who might be interested in purchasing some of his higher-priced jewelry.
“I swallowed it hook, line and sinker,” Rowell told Fox 25.
The handwritten agreement called for Long to repay Rowell $6,000 in 45 days. Rowell said it was a much larger loan than he is used to providing and that it was Long’s idea to repay $6,000 for a $5,000 loan. Long left the title for his 2009 Cadillac Escalade as collateral for the loan.
Those 45 days were up last October.
“There is an agreement between Larry and I,” Grant Long told Fox 25 during a phone interview, “Without going into much detail, which I won’t do, I just say that his loan will be satisfied. It’s not like I’m running out of town on a deal that I left on the table.”
Long said he never promised Rowell he could bring in any Thunder business. “I don’t have any control over that so I couldn’t promise that because I couldn’t deliver that,” Long sad, “I’ve never made the promise that I would bring in any players or coaches or anybody.”
When I heard last night that Channel 25 was running this story, my initial thought was “Who cares? It’s not like he’s Jesse James or anything.” But then I searched Grant Long’s name on OSCN, and well, it looks like the Credit Jewelry Cowboy wouldn’t even give him loan.
Check out this screen shot from OSCN.net:
Playoff season is on dot com. Lately I’ve found myself toggling between unconditional love for the whole team and cursing myself for caring too much, which will almost certainly lead to heartbreak this season. I love rushing home from the gym to turn on another playoff game, but I deeply resent the foul mood that many of the games leave my boyfriend in. I really love RussWest, but I hate how he’s seldom remembers to use good ball movement.
As with most things in life, there’s a ying and yang, a give a take. One of these said things is being a Thunder fan who lives in Tulsa. “Huh?” you might ask. I’ll break it down.
Pro: Hooray, our state has a pro team!
Not so many years ago, the sports gods (or you know, David Stern) picked us out of the crowd and gave us our very own team to love, nurture, and care for. I’m okay with the Thunder being city-specific rather than our entire state. “Utah Jazz” and “Indiana Pacers” just don’t have the right ring to them, plus chanting “O-K-C” makes a bit more sense than 4-syllable “Ok-La-Ho-Ma” would.
Sure it’s the OKC Thunder, but it totally has the feel as if it were our whole state’s collective team. This is also evident in Chesapeake’s opening video they’ve played for years and barely modified.
Con: OKC people have gotten a little supreme about it.
We get it, you have the basketball team. You’re also the capital, have a number of suburbs in close proximity, are located in the very center of our state, harbor about a million major highway cross sections, and your people like to go to NBA games, even when it’s another city’s team who was just there temporarily. There was a lot that went in to where the NBA moved this team, and “haha OKC has always been so much better’n Tulsa duh gus gus” wasn’t one of them.
Con: The drive.
That hour and a half stretch going west on highway 44 is never too bad, especially if you’ve got a good podcast to listen to or have some solid Sirius stations programmed into your car’s dashboard. The drive to OKC almost always flies by.
It’s the drive home that makes me want to intentionally crash into the Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague. You’re a weird mixture of sleepy and wired, emotionally exhausted, and probably have to be at a work meeting at 8 am the next day. I think every Tulsan driving home from OKC lets out an audible sigh of relief the minute they see Sapulpa’s Cinema 8 comes into focus.
Pro: We can hate Blake Griffin and Chris Paul without any guilt.
Chris Paul wasn’t shopping at our grocery stores, attending our churches, or stealing our hearts back in the late aughts. Blake Griffin wasn’t stomping our streets when he was a wee lad. Sure, half of us are Sooners, but as a Sooner fan you should know that we’ve never given a shit about college basketball. To many-a Tulsan, Blake’s just another whiney NBA lap dog with a killer dunk.
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