Oklahoma State Plane Crash…Twenty Years Later

‘Thinking of You Today’: The Texts That Helped Me Mourn the Oklahoma State Crash – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

My older sister Jan sends me things to read all the time. She actually preceded me at John Marshall in Ms. Elijah’s literature and writing classes… and went on the become her class valedictorian…then at Harvard.

As I wrote on here before…Ms. Eiljah was the best teacher at John Marshall. Bar none. A National Teacher of the Year winner. A stately little red-haired version of Ruth Beta Ginsberg who at one time struck me with my own hardcover version of Dan Jenkins’ bawdy bestselling novel Semi-Tough.

Because of Ms. Elijah… my reading tastes gradually expanded. She threatened to flunk me–which would have prohibited me from playing sports. So given this dire consequence… I started reading Jack London, John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain…and others.

At one point she even had me standing in front of the class reading a poem by Carl Sandberg which had nothing to do with the Chicago Cubs. If Amanda Gorman had seen me that day….just saying.

So my sister from time to time sends me books and articles from the NY Times she thinks I would enjoy. She has become my surrogate Ms. Elijah for the remainder of my life.

The above was sent to me by her this past Wednesday on the twenty year anniversary of the Oklahoma State plane crash tragedy. As I wrote on my blog at one time…my son and I had the honor of sitting next to Coach Sutton and his family at a Thunder game back in that first year of all things Thunder in Oklahoma.

Even though I’m an OU fan…I fell in love with Coach Sutton during that first year at Oklahoma State. He transcended Bedlam for me. This may sound corny because I was never one of his players, but I felt he had an impact on me to some degree.

The attached link above was written by Josh Crutchmer who at one time worked on the school paper at O State and later went on to become a copy editor at The Oklahoman before landing a job at the New York Times as a copy editor. After a call to my sports scribe buddy who used to work at The Oklahoman…I even discovered he and Josh worked together at The Oklahoman. Small world.

Above is the essay which Josh wrote which was published this past week in honoring the spirit of those whose lives have never been the same since that fateful day.

I found it to be a beautiful read.

I hope you enjoy the it. I think you might find it worth the time.

Sooners Out-Grind 9th Ranked Alabama For Fifth Straight Win, 66-61

What a beautiful Saturday of hoops. We went out to the family ranch in Seminole for a Chicken Kiev party as I slyly took control of the televison room and watched OU beat Alabama in what I would decribe as a potential Sweet 16 or maybe even an Elite 8 type of matchup coming down the road in March Madness.

Maybe this was a harbinger of things to come when Spencer Rattler and the Sooners/Vols beat down the Tide in next season’s college football national championship game. Could be… let’s deal with hoops first though.

I’ll get to Cade’s clutch play in the win over Arkansas on my next Cade Cunningham Journal in the next day or so. Anyone who thinks Cade isn’t the deal should just give it up at this point. He’s leading the toughest conference in America in scoring and he really hasn’t even yet put his foot on the gas pedal yet. You’ll see. Too bad he had to sit last week vs. Baylor. This young man is basketball gold. O State and Mike Holder better get the damn NCAA paper work done so he can be a part of March Madness.

What a gut check win for Lon Kruger’s surging Sooners as they overcame losing leading scorer Austin Reeves and versatile wing Olandis Williams to Covid protocol. Tough situation for the very deep Sooners, but with DeVion Harmon driving the bus the Sooners played inspired gut check ball to make the clutch plays and beat Alabama at home in the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

The rest of the basketball nation is now catching on to what these Sooners are with the additions of EJ Harkless and Moj Gibson. Without the two transfers the Sooners without Reeves and Olandis would have had a zero chance of winning this game. As in zero.

EJ Harkless is not a star per se as a scorer , but what he is…is a winner who stuffs the stat sheet with tough rebounds, getting fifty fifty balls, making the extra pass, defending the other team’s best guard. Things like that.

Elijah is the ultimate team guy who when he wants to can score the ball as well. I kind of like Elijah Harkless if you can’t tell by now.

Moj Gibson is more of streaky three point phenom who when hot can change the flow of a game like Mikey Miller used to do with the Florida Gators before he went on to the NBA and then destroyed the Thunder in the 2012 NBA Finals.

This game was a slugfest with each team throwing haymakers until EJ made a sequence of clutch plays to propel the Sooners to their fifth Staright win…and I’m guessing a bump up in the ;polls to somewhere close to a # 10 or so ranking on Monday.

On a note of humanity…it was great to see Brady Manek finally get it in gear as he had some clutch plays as well which put the Sooners over the hump. Lon Kruger had to have what he got out of Brady today. Period. Helmet sticker for Brady.

Remember this as OU’s season moves forward…they play defense with a bulldog mentality just like Chris Beard’s national runner-up Texas Tech Red Raiders did two seasons ago.

Oddly enough…the Sooners next game is on Monday night in Lubbock against Chris Beard’s nationally ranked Red Raiders.

That’s the thing about the Big 12 this season…it seems every game you’re playing somebody tough minus Iowa State this season.

On to Lubbock, Texas.


A little country music video would be the perfect way to end a perfect basketball Saturday. Have a nice Sunday.

Brooklyn Without Durant Toys With Thunder, 147-125

Kevin Durant feat. Green & Harden – Say AHH – Bing video

Kevin didn’t need to play and was listed a load management scratch as ten other Net players scored in double figures. Brooklyn destroyed the Thunder on the boards by a 50-36 margin while the points in the paint allowed stat in the first half was a disaster for the Thunder as well..

It was nice to see James Harden and Jeff Green play together. So the three are all back together minus Russell. From what I saw the Nets should be the favorite to win the Eastern Conference this season. They might want some more interior defense at the trade deadline, but otherwise they’re stacked. THEY CAN SCORE THE BALL.

A shout out to Theo Maledon for scoring 24 points on an 8-9 night from the field and a perfect 6-6 from beyond the arc. He’s going to be a nice player for the Thunder if he ever makes it to second contract here.

There’s no real need to dissect this. This was one of the league’s two most talented teams playing against a developmental team which is probably a three year work in progress in the first stage of being a playoff team possibility in 2023.

You can write some bullshit if you want, but that’s just the reality. I hope the Nets win a ring. Isn’t it odd with all this talk of tanking for for first round picks that James Harden and Jeff Green were both top ten first round picks who were traded away before they ever got beyond their rookie scale contract in Oklahoma City.

Green and Nenad Krystic went to Boston in exchange for Perk and Nate Robinson.

Harden as we well know went to Houston for a one year rental of Kevin Martin, Jeremy Lamb, the draft pick which would become Steven Adams and a second round pick which would become Alex Abrines.

So much for lottery picks as far as how the Thunder used them.

But that’s all hindsight and it’s not fair for me to make the comment in a snarky manner.

But the Thunder did get to the 2012 Finals, so there’s that.

How ironic we see Kevin, James, and Jeff all back together in pursuit of a ring while the Thunder are in the throes of at the minimum a three year rebuild if things go right.

I always loved the video above. It all seemed so innocent back then.

Had Me At Hello Kevin McCarthy, Lollipop Lindsey Graham, Lyin’ Ted Cruz, Little Marco, Extra-Small Devin Nunes–Insurrection Makeup Sex Mood Music

Minnie Riperton – Lovin’ You (Live 1975) – YouTube

Gosh…now that I know Brians Williams at MSNBC is on board with me…this opens up an entirely new genre of GOP insurrection make up sex music videos.

What the hell was I thinking? Where was my head….evidently not between the legs of Trump like Lollipop Lindsey Graham, Lyin’ Ted Cruz Little Marco, Extra-Small Devin Nunes, and Had Me At Hello Kevin McCarthy.

I feel liberated by Brian Williams. All this time I thought it was just me struggling with the concept of Trump. Not counting…but if Trump wants to take this to the max extreme he could have a sixsome pee party with this group in the Obama’s favorite Moscow hotel room. Tell me Putin wouldn’t monetize that video.

Man, this is totally sick. Even George Costanza wouldn’t have insurrection makeup sex mood music. But then again…you can’t tell what Trump will do to the hormones of these GOP evangelicals. It must be all that guilt and sexual repression built up over the years.

I know this though, no way in hell would I stand next to any of these guys near an airport urinal. Word.

I need a song now just to cleanse myself from even blogging about these guys. Very sad.

Trump’s Usual Suspects Back On Their Knees After Insurrection Grace Period

You Had Me at Hello – Jerry Maguire (7/8) Movie CLIP (1996) HD – YouTube

How it is I missed this thought with the Kevin McCarthy makeup sex trip to Mar A Lago is beyond me. It must be I’ve been so consumed with blogging about basketball…I had my head in a cloud of hoops.

This scene is indelibly wrapped in my soul being I’ve watched this movie at least twenty times with my wife. She actually just came into the room right now and showed it to me from the Brian Williams show last night with tears in her eyes. Swear to God.

‘You had me at hello.’

It makes me misty eyed thinking of Trump back to having his way with Kevin McCarthy, Lindsey Graham, Devin Nunes, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Little Marco, James Lankford, et al.

I mean…comapred to these guys…Jim Jordan appears almost Chruchillesque. I can’t believe I just wrote that, but I did. Bar low.

I don’t even know if I can continue. It’s hard to blog thru the tears.

Kevin Durant’s Various Issues In Wall Street Journal Piece

Kevin Durant Disses Oklahoma City Thunder and Talks About Separating From Stephen Curry and Klay – YouTube

I thought I’d post this in front of tonight’s game in Oklahoma City with both Kevin Durant and James Harden returning to Oklahoma City as members of the New Jersey Nets.

This piece was written in 2019 in the WSJ and to the this day I find it sad Kevin came back for Nick Collison’s jersey retirement ceremony and wasn’t able to be on the floor with Nick for fear of being booed and ruining the night for Nick somewhat.

Let me explain something to you Trump insurrectionists in OKC…you never would have made it to ONE single Western Conference Finals without Kevin Durant. Not one.

I was pissed at Kevin for about six months after the defection to Golden State, but you get over things and you should be able to accept things like an adult. It hurt that he left. It did. But life moves along.

In retrospect from a basketball standpoint, Kevin clearly made the right decision. Oklahoma City was never going to win an NBA championship with Russell Westbrook as its starting point guard. Period.

Kevin won two rings with Golden State and two NBA Finals MVP trophies. Russell Westbrook with Paul George replacing Kevin never won a single playoff series in two years together. Westbrook and PG never even made it to a Game 7 in either of those first round exits. In fact, the entire organization has to this date never won a first round playoff series without Kevin Durant.

Obviously there’s no crowd tonight per Covid in OKC…so we can only hope the Thunder organization hasn’t installed booing cardboard people to continue the booing of Kevin Durant.

Kevin never did what AD did in New Orleans. He honored his contract to the letter. He was a gracious contributor to Oklahoma City. He just decided to do what Americans all over this country do when they have a chance to better their own careers..namely, he pursued a better opportunity.

Who amongst us wouldn’t advise their son or daughter to do the same?

To me, as I look back on this with detached objectivity… I would hold this over Sam Presti. As a GM…he never corraled Russell Westbrook. Kevin Durant may whine like a bitch at times on various social network platforms, but his game melds with anyone in the league from a basketball standpoint. Durant plays both ends of the floor and is an unselfish player. He moves the ball. He understands the concept of Big Dog coupled with the basketball doctrine of time and score.

Russell Westbrook to this date still doesn’t get it. It’s sad watching Russell in Washington D.C. right now. Incredibly sad.

So…as this game unfolds tonight I wonder if Kevin would have been booed tonight in normal circumstances or given a polite round of applause.

Some advice to the Trump Christian insurrectionist evangelicals in Oklahoma City … you shouldn’t be booing anyone given your own pathetic, abysmal uber hypocritical conduct these past four years. You might want to take a long, hard look in the mirror before you embarrass yourself further before booing Kevin Durant ever again.

Turn off Fox, read some books, and grow up. The first book you might try is the New Testament in the Bible. Try that one on for size.

And if I were Kevin Durant’s best friend, I’d say, “Dude–stay off social media and just embrace being the second best basketball player of your time.”

The end.

If Donald Trump Was Black

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) The Lost Tapes, Behind the scenes (2) – YouTube

I’m going to write this piece above as an obvious counter piece to “If Barack Obama Was White’ sometime next week before my wife and I head out to Denver to have a Super Bowl party with the kids.

I need to write ‘If Donald Trump Was Black’ for obvious reasons in an effort to somehow get thru the fact I live in the bleak cultural abyss known as Oklahoma.

I just watched Houston beat Portland on the TNT game with the magnificent Kevin Harland on the call. He’s become the best as far as I’m concerned calling an NBA game on televison. Kind of like Gary Thorne used to be calling ice hockey games on ESPN back in the day. Those voices.

Houston is not going to tank. They’re not bad at all. These two games with them in Oklahoma City should be very interesting. The Houston pick should be a mid-range first rounder.

I also watched parts of Miami losing to an LA Clippers team which has some Covid issues of their own. Another loss for the Heat. All the sudden the Miami Heat is of some significant interest to the OKC basketball market moving forward I would think.

Durant and Harden in Oklahoma City tonight…I’ll be treating it as if it’s a playoff game on my blog. All the sudden this NBA season kind of became interesting in Oklahoma City.

Go figure.

Have a nice Friday. Do things for yourself which help you find inner peace in these turbulent times we are all living through circa 2021.

Do things which give you joy. Find that little space of Ferris Bueller which should reside in all of us. But most of all…be kind and thoughtful to others. Don’t set a Donald Trump domestic terrorist on fire if you can avoid it.

Alabama at Oklahoma on Saturday at 11:00am in Norman…I might go and sit with the cardboard people. Surely–the cardboard people have more intellectual depth than the average Trump voter in Oklahoma. I might do a Dave Letterman-like interview with one of the cardboard people if I attend the game. I might name the cardboard person I sit next to as … Little Sam Anderson. We should have great deal to talk about. Use your imagination.

Have a great week-end.

Thunder Close West Road Swing With a Win at Phoenix, 102-97

Here we sit seventeen games into the NBA season and the Oklahoma City Thunder are 8-9 as the current No. 10 seed in the West.

Coach D has his team playing competitve basketball on most nights so far. There has clearly been optimsitic signs there is a talented youth base moving into the future.

Out of the next five games which are at home …four look to be winnable with four of the five coming against the Minnesota Timberwolves and another pair of games against the Houston Rockets. Only the 12-8 Brooklyn Nets have a winning record. There’s no way the Thunder even try to tank against Durant and Harden.

There has been nothing to date in Oklahoma City so far this season which indicates the Thunder are tanking.

There will be no tanking at the Peake tomorrow night.

The Thunder have a triangle of first round draft pick possibilities. 1 They have their own pick which they can control. 2 They have Houston’s pick which is protected (1-4). 3 They have Miami’s pick. The Thunder can only come out of this triangle with the two highest picks…given the conditions of the trade as I read it.

If you look at the overall league standings today…OKC’s own pick would have the least value with the Thunder at the No. 16 position in the draft. The Houston pick would be higher somewhere around the 13-14 range. Ironically, as we sit here today… the Miami Heat have the fourth worst winning percentage in the overall league. No one would have ever thought almost into February the defending Eastern Conference champs would be sitting as one the worst five teams in the league.

This is some amazing stuff. Houston is about where we thought they should be, but OKC and Miami are inverted as far as expectations heading into this season.

Let’s say OKC wins three of the next five home games and sits at 11-11 after the homestand. What does Sam Presti do?

Do you immediately pull the plug on Big Al Horford and George Hill? The trade dealine is all the way until March 25th this season I believe because of the delayed start to the regular season.

Based on what we saw last night in Phoenix the Thunder didn’t miss George Hill all that much as Theo Maledon started and played very much like he belonged as a future third guard in the Thunder’s starting rotation.

I would think you certainly don’t ever play Horford or Hill on back to back situations.

At what point in this season does Sam Presti pull the plug on his own team for the possibility of having a top five draft pick controlling his own destiny?

Where is the cutoff spot datewise…if there is one?

What happens if the THunder move all the way up to the No. 7 seed passing Memphis?

Jimmy Butler should be back with the Mimai Heat fairly soon and they should start climbing the ladder.

The Thunder have fifteen games in February, ten of which are at home. The February schedule certainly isn’t cupcake, but it’s not as tough as the January slot.

As far as Coach D…I love the way he’s worked the rotation with these guys. He goes ten or eleven deep on most nights and he’s been playing the guys I would play minute wise and role wise almost verbatim.

Another thing is as we should all recall…young players don’t get injured nearly as much for the most part. Young guys are playing for the second contract. I don’t see how this far in you start telling a young coach with young players to stop winning.

This could only happen in Oklahoma. From Operation Bongo to self-induced earthquakes to Mike Gundy to Joe Exotic to a Donald Trump rabid Birther voter base of those who evidently now support domestic terrorism….this could only happen in Oklahoma.

Antifa…it must all be Antifa. Sigh.

How could anyone make up this shit even if they were trying?

These next five games in Oklahoma City should be interesting to say the least. The Oklahoma City Thunder just moved back onto my relevance radar screen as far as my blog goes. We’ll see how Sam Presti handles all of this.

2021 Daily Thunder Post of the Year So Far

So the Thunder beat the Phoenix Suns on the road tonight by a score of something like 102-95. An incredibly impressive performance considering George Hill didn’t play in this game.

They keep winning for some reason I can’t decipher unless Mike Gundy became GM of the team and the announcement hasn’t been made public as of yet.

WTF are they doing????????

And imagine this just one week after Amanda Gorman amazed us at Joe Biden’s inauguration…I stumbled upon this completely incredible piece of prose on the godforsaken Daily Thunder messageboard of all places.

This might literally be the best thing I’ve ever read on that blog.

Amanda Gorman, hon…please step aside for this composition by Rattling Bones called BeingThunder.

Being Thunder by Rattling Bones

It is amazing how this franchise fails at everything

Win a chip with KD & Russ in their prime?

Nah… we good.

Lose for a top three draft pick and future star?

Nah… we good.


Sir, in six brief sentences you wrote what it took Sam Anderson five years to write.

Bravo, my friend you just won a dr el prez Pulitzer.F

Wayne Newton – Danke Schoen (1968) Live – YouTube F

Kobe Remembered – 2013

(4) Kobe Bryant Up Close Interview with Jimmy Kimmel [FULL INTERVIEW] – YouTube

This is Kobe back in 2013 with Jimmy Kimmel in the aftermath of the Achilles injury. For me—this is vintage Kobe. It’s a great interview if you ever have the time to watch it.

If for no other reason it for me has Kobe’s most prescient quote of all-time: ‘ If you see me wrestling with a grizzly bear…pray for the bear.’

That’s Kobe.

I was never a Lakers fanatic because as a kid the Sixers were my team and quite frankly I was miffed that Kobe being a Philly kid never played for the Sixers.

The irony is though that as a kid I adored Jerry West and it was Jerry West who made the deal which made Kobe a lifetime Laker. When I watched Jerry West describe his surrogate father relationship with Kobe it brought tears to my eyes.

Like most…I wondered what exactly transpired with Kobe and the young woman in Colorado. But as was the case in everything Kobe… he obviously learned a great deal from that setback experience in his life and blossomed into this incredibly interesting NBA icon who turned into this thing called the Girl Dad.

He’s by far the most interesting interview I can remember in sports. He would have made a helluva U.S. Senator representing California…and I’m fairly certain he would have won.

He talked Italian on the court to his favorite Laker teammate Pau Gasol. They were the only two who knew what the hell they were saying to one another.. So Kobe.

He talks on this interview about his only experience in being bullied as a skinny kid and winks as he describes the execution he gave this Philadelphia bully in a one on one game. Pray for the grizzly bear. See what I mean.

I know what Kobe meant…in the fourth grade a skinny little prick named Danny Warren dropped a racial slur on me on a recess break. I seethed. My mother told me to take the high road. No way. Next time I saw that miserable little prick Danny Warren… I dropped him in a pickup football game with a clothline tackle which would have drawn three targeting calls in today’s football world. Little Danny Warren never dropped another racial slur my way again. Just saying.

The moment I knew Kobe was different was during an interview when he started talking about every Quinton Tarantino movie ever made. He loved Tarantino movies. He even made a kid’s movie and for crying out loud and won an Oscar for the movie.

At each juncture of his life he grew as a human. He possessed this admirable sense of self-introspection I truly admire in a human being.

Kobe didn’t attend college even though North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas all came calling. Kobe revealed he would have attended North Carolina because Michael went there and he wanted Michael’s number, plus he wanted to get better by going against Vince Carter every day in practice. But in the end he passed on college because he wanted the best the pros had to offer Day 1. Kobe didn’t need a degree being he earned a PhD in life its ownself.

As we all saw he became this wonderful father to his girls and in the end Kobe transcended beyond just being an iconic basktball player to becoming an iconic human being.

Kobe never went to Harvard or Yale Law Schools like two dimwits in the news recently, but would have destroyed Donald Trump in a debate. The two people I feel most certain who would have destroyed Donald Trump in a debate woud have been Kobe Bryant and Elizabeth Warren. The truth could very well be Kobe was a Republican… but he wouldn’t have tolerated the complete lack of empathy.

Michael, Wilt and Tiger were/are Republicans, but none of those guys transmitted the empathy to other humans like Kobe. It doesn’t matter what his politics were–it was just this sense he transmitted in his later years as grew up and became a man.

Kobe swore that if he and Shaq would have stayed together they would have won ten rings together because he never would have let up on Shaq’s work ethic.

In the end..I don’t know how anybody could not have fallen for Kobe to some varying degree at some point in his life.

But in the end beyond the smile and the Girl Dad personna…always remember Kobe’s Doctrine…’Pray for the bear.’