Image courtesy of William Bennett Berry.
Tonight, we will embark on the 6th season of Thunder basketball, and tomorrow will mark the 8th year since the Chris Paul led Hornets hosted the Sacramento Kings on opening night back in 2005. That should make you feel old.
With tonight being opening night, I thought I would give a quick refresher course on 10 things you need to know going into tonight’s season opener. It reviews some of the storylines of the off-season and what you can expect to see from this year’s team. It’s more for a casual fan than a hardcore basketball junkie – think of it as a Cliff’s Notes season preview – but is still worth reading for the YouTube clips alone.
1. Yes, Russell Westbrook is STILL INJURED!
Yes, Russell Westbrook will be missing the first 4-6 weeks of the season, as the doctors had to go back and repair the meniscus tear in his knee. But don’t worry, the injury shouldn’t slow him down. (Here’s an interview explaining the repair, if you’re interested.)
2. Kevin Martin is gone.
Put bluntly, the Thunder knew that getting Kevin Martin would be a one year rental the second that they traded for him. If they were to stay under the much feared “Luxury Tax” and keep Kendrick Perkins, they couldn’t spend more than a few million dollars. And that money was earmarked for their new draft picks. Thus, the Thunder said sayonara to Kevin Martin, and any free agent that asked more than the minimum.
3. Kevin Martin’s Replacement is some guy named Jeremy Lamb.
Here’s the bad news: Jeremy Lamb averaged 37% shooting during the Pre-Season, and 17% from three. Here’s the good news: The Pre-Season is entirely meaningless. Case in point: Perry Jones lit up the floor during last year’s Pre-Season, and Scott Brooks insinuated that he would get 10-12 minutes a game. He never saw the floor. Also, when the Hornets were in their 2006 Pre-Season, a Polish man named Macej Lampe has something like 20 points and 10 rebounds.* But he too never saw the floor and was out of the NBA by the end of the season. So we can really only judge whether Lamb will succeed when he hits the actual NBA floor, though I’m not holding my breath for anything spectacular.
*That fact was completely stolen from Clark Matthews.
In case you missed it, OU and Texas both unveiled new gold-plated uniforms that will be worn in Saturday’s Red River Rivalry. No, that’s not the beginning to one of the best OU – Texas jokes on the Internet. It’s real.
Here’s a pic of the bedazzled uniforms:
Anyway, the Red River Rivalry is a long and storied tradition that was started to give fans of both teams the chance to tell the same jokes, but with different teams at the butt of joke. When the jokes didn’t do very well, the students were forced to pull pranks, like branding the Texas Longhorn “Bo” with the score 13-0. The Texas students then rebranded it to read, “BevO.” Interesting huh? Oh, the Texas team also killed and ate that steer.
Some other interesting facts: Both head coaches make roughly $5 million a year. They each have one national championship. And they both have stupid looking pinkies (Stoops is caused by genetics, Brown’s from making the damn Hook’em Horns sign for the past 15 years).
After the jump I’ll provide you with the best jokes floating around the internet!
So, there’s this guy. His name is Russell Westbrook. you might know him. He plays point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and is considered to be one of the NBA’s best players, no holds barred. Above you’ll see a photo of him on draft night, in 2008. He looks like pretty much any other NBA Draftee. You’ll notice the sheepish grin, the ill-fitting suit, the professional as possible tie, and the soon-to-be-outdated Sonics hat. But one thing really stands out about that strapping young lad. That glint in his eye. Something tells you that this is as guy who wants it all. And it’s almost certain that it all won’t come on a basketball court.
Fast forward to 2013, and Russell Westbrook has become the NBA’s most prominent fashion icon since Dennis Rodman. He’s appeared in ESPN the Magazine, GQ, VMAN, Vogue, and the New York Times, on all occasions solely for his fashion interests. (He’s yet to appear in the legendary So6ix magazine, but that’s probably because he knows about the curse.) I couldn’t name a single other active player in any other major American sport that comes even close to the notoriety and bravado of Westbrook’s style. The irony of it all is that Westbrook plays for a team in Oklahoma City, where fashion is about as important as who the Democratic candidate for senate is going to be.
In the spirit of Westbrook’s fashion achievements, I’m here to bring you his greatest outfits. They will be graded in three categories: Creativity, Plausibility (in other words, how well the outfit works for everyday wear), and Memorability. The photo with the highest total score wins. Also, before we begin, I think it’s important to disclose that THIS is my idea of excellent fashion. Moving on, here’s to you, Russ!
10. The Hillbilly Homage
Personally, I absolutely despise this outfit. Mainly because it’s something you’d only seen worn by rednecks who don’t take showers and drive 40-year-old pickup trucks. But, somehow, Westbrook messes with your perception here. He brands it with some ultra-chic semi-transparent horn-rimmed specs, and stands in front of a futuristic wallpaper. Basically, you’re looking at a strange dichotomy that somehow finds a way to blend together through color.
How many jackets can one man wear? That’s the question Russell Westbrook attempted to answer with this outfit. It’s hard to tell what’s going on exactly, but the high collar and the black capeish looking thing on the second layer make me thing he’s a vampire. That, and the extremely intense glare he’s giving me. Capping off this photo is a Nike basketball turned upside down, because Westbrook is signed with Jordan bland.
Know how to clean a tuba??? With a tuba toothpaste! Funny, huh? I’ll be here all week. Tip your waitresses and bar staff.
The reason I started this post with a hysterical joke about tubas is because hysterical drama is still unfolding with the Pride of Oklahoma marching band. Just weeks after the Pride issued a list of demands to OU President David Boren, the band’s tuba section has now gone on strike. The Tubateers, as they are affectionately known on campus, are upset by some of the changes implemented by new band director Justin Stolarik, including his strange insistence that they dot the “I” in Oklahoma.
The OU Daily student newspaper has all the details:
The Pride of Oklahoma’s tuba section lacked all but three members at rehearsal Monday after members decided to take a stand against inadequate teaching and changes made to the band this year.
Freshman tuba player Michael Boyd said members of the tuba section decided Sunday not to show up to rehearsal Monday and emailed their director, Justin Stolarik, to voice their concerns with the band’s performance this year.
So your band’s performance has sucked this year, and you combat this by not going to rehearsal? That makes as much sense as hiring an unqualified band director from Wisconsin to lead your university’s marching band.
The article continues:
So, does anyone know of anything interesting that happened last week?
The internet was set afire with a five-part series from Sports Illustrated written by George Dohrmann and Thayer Evans. I thought that today I’d write a little bit about the reactions to it. I want to be clear here that I have no interest in defending SI’s story. Even if every single allegation in the story is true, I don’t really care. The NCAA’s rules are dumb, and dinging OSU for breaking dumb rules strikes me as a waste of time, except to the extent that it gives me ammunition to needle my OSU fan friends.
Unfortunately for Sports Illustrated, their series was pretty sloppy, and most bafflingly they devoted half of what has been published so far to marijuana use and sex, both of which strike me more as telltale signs of everyday college life than of an out-of control football program.
Conceding that the SI report was really weak, though, I also didn’t think the local media totally covered themselves in glory.
Before the story even dropped — before we had any idea what would be in it — KFOR, for instance, was already circling the wagons. Here’s Channel 4’s long-time news anchor Linda Cavanaugh:
Thanks! Your message has been sent!