Kevin Durant breaks Oklahoma’s heart

A pall was cast over the state of Oklahoma as everyone was celebrating the 4th of July.  I myself was at our small town’s Independence Day Parade when we got the news.  Kevin Durant was leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder. Not just leaving but going to the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors, with the super-record of 73-9, whom the Thunder came this close to beating in the playoffs.  The Warriors, whom Oklahoma came to know in the seven game series, the team of the below-the-belt tactics of Draymond Green.

It wasn’t the money.  Golden State offered Durant $54 million over two years, but the Thunder were offering him $201 million over five.  He apparently sees the Warriors as his best shot for a championship ring.  I should say so.  They only lost 9 games last season.  They might not lose any with Durant joining MVP Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.  The NBA suddenly becomes less competitive, less balanced, and less interesting.  With the Thunder, the team Durant has been with for his whole career and taken to the very top tier, he would have been responsible for any championship that they would win.  Now he is just joining a team that is championship-caliber without him.

As Durant’s free-agency drew near, Oklahoma became desperate to keep him.  He was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.  The governor said that if he stayed she would give him a cabinet position (on sports and health or some other made-to-order commission).  Oklahoma loved “KD,” flocking to his Bricktown restaurant in their zeal  to give him more and more of their money, and KD responded with generous philanthropic gifts to local charities (including tornado relief) and fulsome expressions of appreciation for the city and the state.  So now it’s like the whole state has its collective heart broken.

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Olympics woes

The Olympic games in Brazil start in about seven weeks.  The state government that includes Rio de Janeiro has declared a “financial disaster,” reportedly enabling the state to funnel funds to the troubled games.  Rio is also at the center of the world’s Zika plague, causing many athletes to refuse to attend.  Russia’s track teams have been banned from competing at the Olympics, due to a previous doping sanction.  Two world boxing federations have forbidden its members from attending the Olympics.  Many of the biggest NBA stars are refusing to compete on another U.S. “dream team.”

Some people are calling for the games be cancelled or postponed.  Do you agree?  Or should we just let it happen, despite the problems, even if that means a less than perfect event? [Read more…]

Transgendered men in women’s sports

The sports world obediently accepts the new cultural mandates about gender.  That means transgendered men can now compete, as women, in women’s sports.

Consider this case study:  Fallon Fox is a man who has transitioned into being a woman.  He, now called she, competes in women’s mixed martial arts.  Fox has so far beaten–and beaten up–5 women, having lost only one match in a technical knockout.  Here is an account of Fox’s last fight:

During Fox’s fight against Tamikka Brents, Brents suffered a concussion, an orbital bone fracture, and seven staples to the head. After her loss, Brents took to social media to fuel the controversy surrounding Fox’s perceived advantage: “I’ve fought a lot of women and have never felt the strength that I felt in a fight as I did that night. I can’t answer whether it’s because she was born a man or not because I’m not a doctor. I can only say, I’ve never felt so overpowered ever in my life and I am an abnormally strong female in my own right,” she stated. “Her grip was different, I could usually move around in the clinch against other females but couldn’t move at all in Fox’s clinch…”

Is this kind of competition fair?  Are those of you who are sympathetic to transgendered individuals OK with this?  And can’t you wait to see how this plays out in the Olympics, which has opened women’s sports to men who have not had “gender-reassignment surgery,” just hormone treatments?

After the jump, a picture and a link to a discussion by J. Douglas Johnson. [Read more…]

The agony of defeat

Well, the Oklahoma City Thunder, after going ahead of the Golden State Warriors 3 games to 1, ended up losing the series, losing game 7, 96-88.  This was only the 10th time out of over 200 games that a team came back like that.  In many ways, the Thunder outplayed the Warriors, but there was nothing they could do against the superpower three-point shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson.

The Thunder rolls. . .

Now that I live in Oklahoma, I can’t help but get pulled into the vortex of the Oklahoma City Thunder.  The NBA this season has been dominated by two teams for the ages, with astonishing records, hailed by many as among the best teams ever:  The San Antonio Spurs and (above all) the Golden State Warriors.

In the Western division playoffs, the Thunder first eliminated the Spurs and now has taken a 3-1 lead against the Warriors.  Winning one more game in the best-of-seven series will put them in the championship series, against either the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Toronto Raptors.

These wins, every one an upset–and the last two blowouts–have been fun to watch, to make a huge understatement.  This has really united the state, as everyone–despite race, color, creed, social position, or politics–is insane over the Thunder.   [Read more…]

NCAA tournament predictions

The NCAA basketball tournament is underway.  My two alma maters, Oklahoma and Kansas, are in the thick of it.  So what are your predictions?  Who will be in the Final Four?  Who will be in the championship game?  Who will win? [Read more…]