Presuming you’re a Thunder fan, what did you think about?
What did you think about when you learned Paul George would be coming to Oklahoma City and what have you thought about since his arrival, since he’s spoken of remaining in Oklahoma City longer than his contract says he must?
What did you think about Saturday when news broke that a third superstar was on the way, that Carmelo Anthony would become an Oklahoma Citian for at least a season and that, maybe for the first time — or second, if you think about it — you might be watching three future Hall of Famers in the same uniform sharing the Chesapeake Energy Arena court.
Here’s what I thought about.
I thought about how, even though our governor and legislature, unable to figure out how to pay for anything, even as the answers are right in front of their noses — though those answers might offend the donating defenders of the status quo — have become national jokes, it’s nonetheless true that we’re the most well-meaning people.
I thought of national newsmen and women that have covered tornadoes around here and told stories of their subjects, as they dig through the rubble of their lives, nonetheless asking the media members themselves if there was anything they could do for them.
I thought of the unconditional love first shown for Chris Paul, David West and the rest of the Hornets, years before the unconditional love that’s since been shown everybody to come through town associated with the team Oklahoma City can now call its own.
I thought of the genuine goodness that defines our state and our capital city.
Because it really is real and it really is appreciated by some of the richest young men in the world, men paid tens of millions of dollars a year to play a game they’d likely play for free, yet why should they in the world’s largest and richest market economy?
Believe it or not, at least in 2017, Oklahoma City has become a destination.
That Patrick Patterson and Raymond Felton — not all-stars, but NBA players with more than one offer on the table — chose Oklahoma City before the icons chose Oklahoma City was no small thing.
They didn’t have to come. And now that George and Anthony have come seals it.
Oklahoma City is no outpost. It’s a small-market major league city, yes, but it’s not small-time.
And, it turns out, though being good remains its own reward, it’s not the only reward. Another reward — provided you have a magician of a general manager like Sam Presti cutting the deals — is creating a destination capable of making your basketball team a world championship contender at a time nobody saw it coming.
Oh, yeah, Dwyane Wade might be on the way, too.
These are amazing times.
I thought about this, too.
These players are not mercenaries. They make a ton of money, but they’re not simply hired guns.
Listen to them — and, Monday, at Thunder media day, listen to them speak about the President of the United States suddenly taking on athletes; our intrepid reporter, Fred Katz, has a story about it in this very section — and you know that these are thoughtful and intelligent men, too.
They live lives of grandeur their athletic prowess affords them that we may never know.
Also, before reaching such a socioeconomic stratosphere, they also lived lives that many, many, many of us might also never know. And, maybe what they get from the latest round of presidential tweets may not be what the rest of us get from them.
So I have thought about that, too.
Something about Oklahoma City and its surroundings and its people has taught them it’s a terrific place to be.
Here’s hoping they can teach us something, too
It will require our paying attention, because it’s a deeper place than we typically go with our athletic heroes.
“I think it’s unnecessary and uncalled for,” Russell Westbrook said.
He said more than that.
We’ve taught them something.
Perhaps they’re returning the favor.