William Blake wrote a book of poetry called The Songs of Innocence and of Experience in which he explored the loss of childhood. Through poems written from the point of view of identical characters at different stages of life, Blake showed the often dark and sad ways that humans change through the addition of fear and corruption often coming with maturity. With James Harden departing for the Houston Rockets, Blake could now write an entry for Thunder fans in both sections of the book.
Through the first four years of the team’s existence in Oklahoma City, the Thunder have been a feel good story. Their presence has drawn the city together with a experience described as “college-like” in a market accustomed to collegiate atmosphere. With extremely young, highly exuberant, classy players, the fans of the Thunder often forget that the people they cheer for are multi-millionaires working in a billion dollar a year business.
Chief among this facade was a character known to most as “The Beard.” James Harden is a guy with a childlike outlook on life and the facial hair of crazy old homeless man. Over his first three years he has developed from a streaky bench player who fizzled in the first round of the playoffs to a streaky bench player who had the talent to start and fizzled in the Finals. Of course, during that time he also racked up accolades such as “NBA Sixth Man of the Year” and a roster spot on Team USA. Those were enough to warrant him consideration for a maximum level contract from the Thunder.
The problem was that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) agreed to between the NBA Players Association and the NBA owners make it very punitive to spend too much on player salary. After providing big paydays to proven all-stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, as well as hefty contracts for starting big men Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, the team is very close to the league’s salary tax threshold. That said, the team was willing to pay quite a bit of that in order to keep their best substitute.
It is a dark day. It’s not enough that the Sooners had to lose to Notre freaking Dame, but then the Thunder went and traded James Harden. If you’re anything like me, you’ll spend the rest of this morning listening to this song on repeat:
(Editor’s Note: Yes, Tony just embedded a Simple Plan song on this website).
This week’s tweets are after the fold.
By the time you read this, The Day After Tomorrow will manifest itself in reality on the East Coast. New York City is about to get hit with 75 MPH winds, 8 inches of rain, and a six-foot storm surge. Or, as Oklahomans call it, April.
Here’s the Week 9 Power Poll for one of the biggest sports night’s in our state history:
10) Second Verse, Same as the First
Seems to be a pattern developing here. A good to great, fundamentally sound, well-coached team outlasts the Oklahoma Sooners in Norman in 2012. Notre Dame soundly defeated the Sooners in Norman Saturday night. The Irish committed no turnovers and one penalty. They averaged 5.5. yards a rush, and gave up less than a yard a carry. They were 7-15 on 3rd down. They had a five-minute advantage in time of possession.
Oklahoma didn’t play bad. Notre Dame played perfect. That’s really about it. Yes, Heupel could have actually ran a hurry up offense and remembered the Tech and Texas game plan Yes, the lines could have played tougher. Yes, Landry could have been sharper. The Kansas State loss was more about Oklahoma’s failures. This loss was more about Notre Dame’s effectiveness. The talent is there in South Bend. Now there is a coach how can facilitate the talent.
9) Stripe the Stadium
Eh, I guess. It looked pretty good. But that’s what Oklahoma has come to? Gimmicks? We aren’t Oklahoma State. OU football does not need “white outs” or “frisbee catching dogs” to claim relevance. I fully expect a Nike Day next season, complete with pinstripe uniforms and shoes with jetpacks.
I’ve written about 100 different introductions for this post. If I lived in the 1960s and I had to type this blog on an old school typewriter, a pile of crumpled-up sheets of paper would be touching my the ceiling.
So far, these are the worst two intros I came up with. No lie, I seriously considered using them:
• Friends, Romans, Loud Citians, we come to bury Harden, not to praise him.
• Midget farts.
Yes, the James Harden trade — coupled with Bob Stoops slowly turning into Gary Gibbs — has affected me so much that I’m now mocking Shakespeare and using random midget fart references. Maybe I should give up on trying to write anything coherent today and just post those pictures I have of Joleen Chaney sunbathing. I need to do that sometime, but that’s just taking the easy way out. You know, kind of like paying a popular all-star $1-million more per season to stick around and try to help you win a championship.
Anyway, I think I struggled to come up with an appropriate intro for this post because I still don’t know how I really feel about everything. For about an hour, I’ll think the Thunder made the right move and I’ll get kind of happy. Then I’ll go over to Daily Thunder and read stories like this and get all sad. Then I’ll check out a pre-draft scouting report on Jeremy Lamb and get all happy again. Then I’ll look at Kevin Martin’s Top 10 plays as a Rocket and get depressed. Then ESPN will show a damn Notre Dame highlight and I’ll faint.
It’s kind of nuts, really. I can’t believe how torn up I am about the ordeal. I’m slightly embarrassed that a professional bearded athlete could have this type of impact on me. OU losing definitely didn’t help, but I’ve been a depressed zombie since late Saturday night. All I did on Sunday was check my fantasy football scores, look up slow cooker recipes and read article after article about James Harden.
Wait! That’s what I can do! Instead of writing about the trade, I’ll post links to some slow cooker recipes. That sounds fun. Or better yet, what if I posted three articles about the Harden trade that are must-reads. They’re not obscure or anything, but they’ll help you have a water cooler conversation about the topic and not sound like a fool:
Happy You’re-Probably-Celebrating-Halloween-This-Weekend weekend, Moles. If you haven’t done so yet, check out Marisa’s special “Halloween in the Big Town” for a list of things to do in the metro this weekend.
This week’s mailbag is sponsored by our friends at Lucky Star Casino. Whoever sends us the best email will take home a pair of tickets to the George Lopez show on November 10th. This probably has something to do with me growing up in Capitol Hill, but I kind of like George Lopez’s stand-up act. Repeat, stand-up act. It’s actually funny.
Anyway, to the emails:
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