Oklahoma feels better now

While the rest of the country was celebrating the 4th of July, my state of Oklahoma mourned, as Thunder superstar Kevin Durant declared his independence and signed with the much-resented and already-too-good Golden State Warriors.  But now we all feel better, as the Thunder’s other superstar, Russell Westbrook–instead of being traded as everyone expected–gave up next year’s free agency to sign a three-year $85.7 million contract extension.

He is staying!  He is a thrilling player, who had been somewhat in the shadow of Durant but who excelled more than usual when Durant was injured.  Westbrook, the two-time MVP of the All Star Game, is now the face of the Thunder.  And Oklahoma’s favorite athlete. [Read more…]

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.

[Read more…]

Oklahoma gets Bob Dylan archives

Bob Dylan’s archives will be housed in Tulsa, Oklahoma, near the Woody Guthrie museum.  An Oklahoma foundation that was also involved in building the Guthrie museum put up $15-20 million to buy the treasure trove of manuscripts, recordings, and memorabilia.

I moved back here and now Oklahoma has become a happening place.  I can’t, however, find a connection. [Read more…]

Earthquake alley

I was watching TV around 10:30 on Wednesday night when I thought one of  grandkids–we were hosting a sleepover–was shaking my chair.  I reached around to grab the culprit, but there was no one there.  Then it happened again.  Then the other adults in our living room, including some Californians, said “Earthquake!” [Read more…]

Why football?

A reporter transplanted from Chicago to work on the Daily Oklahoman who cares nothing for football was given the assignment to find out why Oklahomans care so much about the sport.

This turned into an interesting article, which I excerpt and link to after the jump, whereupon I then raise questions for my fellow football fans. [Read more…]

ISIL-style beheadings come to America

A recent Muslim convert, angry because he had been fired, beheaded a 54-year-old woman and attacked another woman until a manager with a gun shot him (though not fatally).  The killer, Alton Nolen, had jihadist slogans and ISIL beheading videos on his FaceBook page.  The reason he was fired was reportedly because of an argument he started at work advocating the stoning of women.  (See this.)  This happened in my native state of Oklahoma in Moore, the tornado-afflicted suburb of Oklahoma City that I know well.

Note  my prediction.  Nolen is probably not formally affiliated with ISIL, but he shares that group’s jihadist ideology.  Authorities are classifying the beheading as “workplace violence.”  But isn’t it also terrorism, an extension of what ISIL is doing in Syria and Iraq? [Read more…]


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