Smerconish Sunday

A wonderful week-end of rest and relaxation out here at the Deer Creek Ranch on Saturday, then at my wife’s family ranch in Seminole. I’m totally at peace. It was a good week, maybe my best in seven months or so.

My first day at the Wellness Center gym begins tomorrow. I’m stoked even though I will sorely miss Charity, Audra, and Tyler. There was a human connection there in my darkest hours which will always be with me….as in forever. I plan on touching base with them in early September when I have my next set of labs and my monthly consultation with Dr. S.

We were going to see the movie Oppenheimer this week-end, but decided to push it back to next week-end when the purported Canadian northerner brings us down out of the dog days of successive one-hundred degrees temperature.Next week, my Smerconish Question of the Week will delve into Truman’s decision to drop the A-bombs.

I watched Smerconish yesterday morning. It was one one of the worst shows I’ve seen from Michael in quite some time. Very weak. It would appear Trump Fatigue and the pathetic life of Hunter Biden have worn him out. He’s now gone on vacation and based on what I observed yesterday… he at the minimum should take three weeks off away from all of this bullshit. I sent his website staff an email telling them not to fret…that MJ in Deer Creek, Oklahoma will be carrying the torch while he’s taking a sabbatical.

Now…with no further delay…this week’s Question of the Week is….. of the following four choices which poses the greatest threat to the continuation of American demcocracy?

a. Xi Jipeng

b. Mr. Pillow

c. Vlad Putin

d. Donald Trump

My answers went in this order….1 Donald Trump, 2 Xi Jipeng, 3 Vlad Putin, and 4 Mr. Pillow. I wanted to throw in the obvious easy one with Mr. Pillow so as the average Trump fan who stumbles onto my blog…..isn’t overwhelmed and at least gets one right.

Why did I pick Trump at 1? Fairly obvious unless you’ve been concussed recently. See the video below and I think that should explain my reasoning.

The decision between Putin and Jipeng was somewhat difficult though. I ultimately though had to go with Jipeng because China is both an economic super power and a military power, while Russia is an oil and gas country with nuclear power with no real diversification in their economy.

That’s it for me until next Sunday when we delve into Oppenheimer and Harry S. Truman.

Take care.

Austin Reaves’ Journey to the LA Lakers

The rise of Austin Reaves to being the LA Lakers’ third most important player this past season was very personal for me as a hoops fan. I love Austin.

I’m an oddity in Oklahoma in that even though I Bleed Crimson and love the Sooners’ athletic programs… OU mens’ basketball is my first love. I love the football and womens’ softball squads and all the other teams managed by Joe C… but Sooner hoops has always been my first love.

OU basketball is my first love dating back to my junior high days when Johnny Mac coached the Sooners and OU was usually the second best team in the old Big 8 competing with Kansas and K State atop the league.

Johnny Mac went on to head coach the Phoenix Suns and got his Suns to an NBA Finals versus the Boston Celtics. The series went six games with the Celtics finally winning the series, but this series will forever be remembered as one of the greatest NBA Finals for Game 5… which went to the Celtics in triple overtime. Just an iconic basketball game.

Dave Bliss, a Bobby Knight protege from Army, followed Johnny Mac and won a Big 8 championship in 1979. Unfortunately… Coach Bliss left to take what at then was considered a better basketball job at New Mexico. A dumb decison as it turned out for Dave Bliss.

Joe Ramsey did okay for a brief spell and was then replaced by Lester Lane. A promising hire who never coached a game at OU due to a heart attack. A genuine tragedy because everyone around the OU program was stoked about Les Lane taking over the program.

Then it happened…an unknown William ‘Billy Tubbs’ from little Lamar University was hired and the Sooners’ then came to own the Big 8 for a decade or so. The Sooners even made it to the ’88 National Championship Game where they lost a true road game to Danny Manning and the Miracles at Kemper Arena by a score of 83-79.

OU had already trounced the Jayhawks twice that season, but it’s tough to win on the road inside of a Kemper Arena full of Jayhawk crazies with zebra Ed Hightower protecting Danny Manning in the second half. But it is what it was.

Billy eventually got worn out with the Sooners, took the TCU job, and was replaced by Kelvin Sampson who got two Sooner teams to an Elite 8 and one Final Four.

Jeff Capel from Duke who was Coach K’s second in command, then took over and got the Sooners to back to back NCAA Tournaments and an Elite 8 appearance. The Sooners lost to a loaded North Carolina team which went on to win Roy Williams a national championship.

Coach Capel stayed at OU for several more years before he was fired by Joe C and David Boren after the Sooners’ flattened after the exit of Blake Griffin. Coach Capel went back to Duke for awhile and has now been the head coach at Pitt for several seasons. I like Coach Capel and was truely sorry to see him not stay longer in Norman.

Joe C then made the prescient hire of Hall of Famer Lon Kruger. Lon did a great job of stabilizing the program. Two if his teams made Sweet 16s and the Buddy Hield-Isiah Cousins group made it it to a Final Four.

Lon retired three years ago and was replaced by Porter Moser who was considered the hottest national hire at the time. I still think it was a good hire. Porter has struggled with 17-15 and 15-16 teams his first two seasons.

But it was a terrible time to take over a new program in the rugged Big 12 given Covid, the transfer portal, and the Wild West days of NIL. I feel confidant Joe C and Porter will figure it all out. I definitely wouldn’t knee jerk after two seasons. I’ve sat behind Porter’s bench several times…he can flat out coach. He just needs an overachieving kid like Austin who wants the ball in his hands the last four minutes of a tight game. A leader who leads by his play.

So if you’re counting and include OU’s 1947 team which lost to Holy Cross in the Finals…six different OU basketball coaches including Bruce Drake from the ’47 team have had significant national success leading the OU mens’ hoop program.

I think Porter will be okay. He’s added two more four stars and five players in the portal. And I think with OU going to the softer teams in the SEC the Sooners will be okay. I mean, in Porter’s first two seasons, he’s already beaten the top two teams in Alabama and Arkansas with double digit wins. The Big 12 is a killer basketball league and soon to be a third tier football conference. Give Porter the time and resources he needs.

I love Austin Reaves and what he stands for as an NBA player. The video above chronicles how this skinny white kid from Arakansas who played at the 3A level in high school went undrafted and became the LeBron Whisperer.

Of course…..OKC’s basketball savant who acquired the Daily Thunder and I shall not list on this post passed on Austin and made such shrewd swing player picks as Terrance Ferguson, Darius Bazely, Ty Jerome, Theo Maledon, Lindy Waters, and Jared Butler. Sigh.

Let’s do a hypothetical before I sign off for today so as I can finish Herman Melville’s novelette Billy Budd. Let’s say El Prez was GM’ing the current roster of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Let’s say I just acquired Austin. Where would I rank Austin on this Thunder team?

I’d go…… 1 Shai, 2 JDub, 3 Chet, 4 Giddey, 5 Austin, 6 Lu Dort, 7 Aaron Wiggins, 8 JWill, 9 Tre Mann, *a second center TBD, 10 Cason Wallace, 11 Isiah Joe, 12 Poku, and 13 Jared Butler.

  • Sam Presti needs a physical second center to mitigate Chet’s frailness.

That’s it for today.

Be smart about the heat for the next nine or so days.

This is beautiful. There are times I wanted to strangle Russell Westbrook as a Thunder fan/blogger. But as a person… I’ve always loved Russell and his loyalty to his family and inner circle. I’m glad Austin made these comments as he did.

Editorial: Should Oklahoma City Build the Thunder a New Arena?

My vote is not only yes, but hell yes!

This is an absolute no brainer even in God forsaken Oklahoma. If Oklahoma screws this up there is virtually no hope whatsoever for this desolate state which John Steinbeck addressed in his iconic novel The Grapes of Wrath.

It’s a yes vote. Duh.

Why in the hell would you send Clay Bennett to ‘borrow’ the Seattle franchise and move it to Oklahoma City if you weren’t prepared to eventually build an arena comporable to the other venues in the NBA?

You wanna be seen as a major league city…then act like a major league city.

Fifteen years ago before the Thunder arrived, Oke City ranked as the 31st largest city in the U.S.

Today…..Oklahoma City ranks as the 20th largest city in the country with lit/woke cities like Denver and Seattle in their rear view mirror. Granted, there are quite a few in Oklahoma who read at a 7th grade level and the state is a mecca for the Trump Proud Boy types, but as long the state is finding creative ways to re-brand itself diffently and create tax revenues it’s a great thing being an NBA city.

Even though there’s no way in hell I would buy season tickets….this coming season with my health much improved and Covid under control…I hope to attend maybe ten to twelve games when the Splash Brothers, Jamal Murray, Austin Reaves, Jimmy B, Bam, and Tyler come to town.

All the teams in the West are going to be great this season so as I’m not a Thunder zombie it doesn’t really matter to me how many games the Thunder win, but rather the fact I get to see the best basketball players in the world in person play a mere twenty-five minutes from my front door.

I have no idea how economists specifically gauge IROR (investment rate of return) on a city like Oke City which only has one major league sport tenant. But just think how Green Bay would be viewed without the Packers. Think about how much sales tax revenue would be lost if the Packers no longer existed. Or the residual benefits of NFL or NBA exposure which brands a city, improves the quality of life, attracts new businesses and retirees that comes with having a major league sports team.

MAPS has been a resounding success. This is not the time to balk. Do you think Sam Anderson would have written the NY Times bestseller Boom Town if not for the Thunder?

In closing, back in the day before Hurricane Katrina changed Oklahoma City, it came in second when a large United Airlines project location was being decided. The city then came second to Coloumbus, Ohio for a NHL team. Both times the city’s desolate downtown was cited for its poor level of overall of places to eat, things to do, culture to explore.

But through MAPS the city has changed while much of the state hasn’t. Oklahoma City cannot get it wrong on this one.

Vote yes…so Mike Jackson can see the Splash Brothers, Austin Reaves, Jamal Murray, Jimmy B, Bam, and Tyler Herro in person in the closing years of his life. So Mike Jackson can buy things, pay sales tax, feel the joy of Oklahoma City being an NBA city.

Ernie Johnson…My Cancer Compass

Today was a very emotional day for me. In a few days it will be the five month anniversary of my Stage 4 cancer diagnosis. That day will never leave me. When Dr. S. shut the door, showed me the data and suggested I get my affairs in order immediately… it was clearly an awakening.

He showed me my PetScan. He showed me my outrageous PSA count of 1200 and said,” This may be the highest PSA count I’ve ever had with a patient.” He then proceeded to write down the four medications which would get me started on my battle with cancer. He suggested I explore the physical rehab center across the hall. He never suggested the vegan diet…that was me. He said it wouldn’t be bad idea to pray and hope for a miracle. He said he wasn’t God and we’d just have to do the best we could given the circumstances.


Dr. S’s assistant came into the room today. She said, “Michael, I think you’re going to be very pleased with what I have to show you today. Your PSA count as of Monday was all the way down to – 0.61, your PetScan is clean, your hemoglobin count has settled in at 12.5. There has been a retraction of cancer as well. Everything is trending right. You’ll always be a Stage 4 cancer patient, but the outlook from here is much different than it was five months ago. Keep working hard. Dr. S will see you in a month.”

I nodded and said “Thank you”… Bit my lower lip and then headed down the hall to the Infusion Room and got two shots in my stomach.

I then headed over to North Park Mall and had lunch with my eighty-eight year-old mother and gave her the good news. I even treated myself to a Ron’s onion burger without cheese today. Dr. Greger says it’s okay to do this now and again,,,,so I did. It was a special day.

So after lunch my Mom heads off to go home after the burgers. I then take my position behind the SuperVive Walker Model MOB1033 and started my half-mile walk inside of the mall.

About two-thirds of the way through my walk, a Hispanic woman in her thirties and her son who looked to be about eight years-old stepped in front of me and halted me to a stop.

She said, “Sir, this is crazy, but my son and I were in the lounge at the Doctor’s office earlier and we saw you there. That was you, right?”

I answered, “Yup. It was a great day for me.”

She then told me of both her parents’ battles with cancer. She then said, “My son has something he’d like to give you.”

I said, “Really?”

She said, “Yes. He has something for you.”

This adorable kid then reaches into his pocket and pulls out a penny and places in my hand. He then says,” Mister, this is one of my lucky pennies. You can have it and throw it in the fountain for good luck if you want to.”

For the seond time in two hours…I bit my lip and then replied to this incredible kid,” If you don’t mind… I’d like to not throw the penny in the fountain, but keep it for the rest of my life to remember this moment. Thank you very much for this very thoughtful gift.”

He nodded and said,”No problem. You don’t have to throw it in the fountain. You can still keep it.”

I tussled his hair. We said our goodbyes. I finished my walk and went home and told my wife…then called my son in Denver.

It was a beautiful day.

Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever surrender your inner faith. Everywhere around us love is there trying to help us.

Have a wonderful Thursday.

Dub Nation Oklahoma: Joe Lacob Intruduces New GM Mike Dunleavy Jr… Summer 2023

A nice press conference with Warriors’ owner Joe Lacob introducing Mike Dunleavy Jr. as the pick to succeed Bobby Myers as general manager.

A nice selection. I was a little bit caught off-guard by Bob’s departure, but I’ve been pretty much tuned in on my own life challenges currently so who am I to say. I would think for Bob it was particularly frustrating to deal with the Draymond-Jordan Poole bullshit and the disaster of picking James Wiseman with the No. 2 pick at the same time.

For most teams it would be a death knell to totally flame out having the draft’s second pick, but I think Steph, Klay, and Draymond will be around maybe four more years…so Mike Dunleavy’s task is one of unique NBA duality. * That being, to try win one or two more championships with his core three while at the same time taking Moses Moody, Johnny Kuminga, and perhaps a player other than Andrew Wiggins as the the team’s next core three. Nothing against Andrew, but I think they’ll need the next big new thing so to speak.

I think it is essential to the future of the team for Johnny Kuminga to turn into the player he has the potential to be. Period. He cannot be a flameout like James Wiseman who had a pitiful Summer League for his new team the Detroit Pistons. What a coincidence…. it was Sam Presti’s former protege Troy Weaver who took Wiseman. The acorn didn’t fall from the tree…did it? That was rhetorical if you’re a Trump supporter.

Even though I’m out here in Deer Creek, Oklahoma…a mere twenty-five minutes from the doors of PayCom Arena…I consider it an honor and pleasure to be the Warriors’ beat writer in godforsaken Oklahoma this season. Who knows how many NBA seasons I have left in me. I can’t be pissing NBA seasons away watching the ‘Process in Oklahoma.’

Stay out of the heat this week as much as possible.

  • Duality is such an under-used word. It has such a simple elegant grace to it. I hope to use duality more in my blogging moving forward.


Year 3 for Johnny Kuminga. Light switch needs to come on, stud hoss. Let’s go.

Motivational Monday After Dark

A very demanding, yet positive Monday. When you’re battling cancer you have to know how to calibrate your body with brain and soul. The holistic approach very much works this way. An integrated approach… of body, soul, brain. Not just diet and exercise, plus the oral chemo….but music, meditation, and doing the things which bring utter joy to your inner self and set aflow the dopamine and oxytocins. Reward yourself, breath, then out…just like Charity taught me. I’ve never breathed properly…..but now like Kareem and others my breathing skills are becoming elite.

Have a positive Tuesday and put all that Donald Trump induced hatred away. We have to be better than that way. We will be better than that way.

I find Ravel’s Bolero sensual, gentle ,and yet provocative.

Eternal bliss.


El Prez

Motivational Monday

Big week for me over at the Integris Cancer Center. Gave blood in preparation for my consulation meeting on Wednesday to discuss the blood results and recent PetScan with Dr. S.

Then I headed over to the physical therapy room for my workout with Charity. I opted not to wear the Obama t-shirt so as not to distract from anyone’s workout in redneck godforsaken Oklahoma. I wouldn’t want to feel responsible if one of my fellow rehabbers fainted and died as a result of the shirt.

At last week’s workout with Tyler… I unleashed my new walker to help me with the right knee. It’s called the Vive Walker-Model MOB1033. I can only say two words about how the MOB1033 has changed my speed and mobility. Those words being….GAME CHANGER.

After last week’s workout…Tyler pulled me aside and said, “Mike, your three month evaluation is next week….these numbers you’re posting are off the charts.”

I replied, ” I’m a hard worker. The vegan diet plus the MOB1033 make me an extremely dangerous sixty-five year old.”

Tyler said, ” But you know…they may not let you stay here much longer with these numbers. You might wanna leave the MOB1033 at home next week.”

I said, ” You mean tank like Sam Presti?”

Tyler replied, “I mean just kind of coast next week so we can keep talking NBA hoops in here for a bit longer.”

I said, ” Mike isn’t Sam Presti or that kayfabe bullshit with WWE wrestling. MJ doesn’t tank.”

“Well, okay…do it your way.”

So today I walked in the room with Charity and her chart. And I just fucking obliterated it. I tripled my original distance in the six minute walk times and did pretty much the same with all the tests.

She shook her head and said, ” I can’t believe how far you’ve come in three months. We can’t keep you here any longer.”

I asked, “Do I really have to go?”

She answered with a tint of sadness, “We can’t keep you here and justify it with the insurance people. I wish it wasn’t so. You’re one of my hardest working patients ever.”

So she told me about a wellness gym across the street from Putnam City North and told me to check it out. She said the place even has an indoors salt-water swimming pool which might be nice to incorporate into my workouts.

I sadly replied, “I’ll miss you, Tyler, and Audra. You three had a profoundly positive impact with me. Seriously…I owe you guys.”

She smiled and said, “Come by and say hi when you’re across the hall when you see Dr. S and let us know how it goes.”

“Sure. I’m confident it’s going to be a good meeting. Take care of yourself, Charity.”

I then looked over at Tyler with my fist upraised and waved goodbye, then shook Audra’s hand.

It was a beautiful day.

That little twerp Sam Presti has this saying….”Scared money… don’t make money.”

MJ’s response to that is…” Alpha dogs don’t tank. Ever.”

I think I’ll write about Golden State’s new GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. tomorrow.

Smerconish Sunday

A nice Sunday. I watched unheralded Brian Harman slog out a six stroke win in the rain in the British Open. Congrats to Brian Harmon. If anyone had Wyndam Clark and Brian Harman winning the U.S. and British Opens two months ago…. then I’d say you’re really smart and should have a blog of your own.

Brian Harman’s win ends this year’s run of the majors. Jon Rahm won the Masters, Florida Panthers wannabe Brooks Koepka won the PGA….we now have Wyndam and Brian as our Open winners.

Hence, we now head to the Fed-Ex Challenge Cup and then it will be pretty much from there we start to assimilate towards the Saudi Arabian PGA. Sounds pretty audacious, but really when you consider T Boone Pickens and Carl Icahn leveraged a state funded university in the Big 12 ….I don’t see the big fuss with what the Saudis just did. But that’s just me.

One suggestion to you sports journalists covering the new Saudi tour….I would strongly urge you to be very positive with your coverage so as you don’t end up in a box cut up into small pieces from a chainsaw. See the glass half full…..would be my suggestion.

Now….Michael Schmerconish’s Question of the Week was pretty basic….’Why Does Joe Biden Have the Second Lowest Approval Rating of the U.S. Presidency in the Modern Era History?’

I think most serious historians like myself…consider the modern era began in 1960 when JFK nudged Richard Nixon to win the White House. Since then, only one first term president has had a lower approval rating than Biden’s 30 per cent marker. That would be Jimmy Carter in 1979, just before he got smoked by Ronald Reagan.

So…the answer to Michael’s question had an overwhelming winner….that being, 49 per cent voted political polarization was the reason for Joe Biden’s bad numbers.

I disagree. As a nation, we’ve been bitterly divided since Bush 43’s asension to the White House in 2000 when it appears Al Gore got rigged in Florida. I mean since then…it’s been pretty much war, right?

The reason I think Joe Biden’s numbers are so bad is that he’s not Barack Obama. He’s too old. He stumbles with his speech, and his second son Hunter makes Billy Carter look like a five star asset.

Barack Obama will probably go down as the most aspirational president in the history of America. Period.

So when you follow someone like President Obama and you have a female black vice-president who makes Hillary Clinton seem cuddly….nothing is going to come easy for Joe Biden in 2024.

You CNN voters overthought this one.

That’s it for me tonight.

Tomorrow is Monday and I have a blood lab then a physical therapy session with Charity.

I think I’ll wear my 2008 Obama for President t-shirt and see how Tyler reacts.

Have a nice Monday and be kind to others in this heat.

Tony Bennett… Still on My Mind

I had a lovely Saturday here on the mini-ranch in Deer Creek. Watched Michael Smerconish. Drank black coffee and some green tea. Ate three awesome vegan meals. Gave my legs a rest, but did a tough upper body workout with the focus on core, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and chest.

Then…. I basically settled in and watched the third round of the British Open with the sound down and listened to Tony Bennett and Diana Krall music all day.

Even though I’m an OU fan and bleed crimson….Viktor Hovland and Rickie Fowler are two of my favorite golfers. Rickie is too far back, but if Vic could shoot 63 and maybe Brian Harman’s creative mind could make him shoot a 74 or so….you never know.

Go Viktor! Fairways and greens, buddy.

I’ll do my Smerconish Sunday question tomorrow.

Have a great Sunday.

Tony Bennett Passes at 96

I hated this when I heard it this morning. It brought a tear to my eye.

My wife and I have been together for 42 years and we were fortunate enough to see Tony Bennett three times in three different small venues in Oklahoma. Once in Tulsa at the Ballroom, once in OKC at the Civic Center, and once at Norman at Riverside Casino. Each concert left us with an idelible memory of the complete greatness of this ageless performer.

Tony Bennett never grew stale. His music crossed every boundary, every genre, and every demographic. Keep in mind, Tony Bennett remained relevant for over seven decades surviving the onslaught of rap and country music being transformed into pop.

Tony Bennett in my mind was even greater than Frank Sinatra. Plus, he seemed like such a gracious, friendly, and decent man.

He never grew stagnant and as young performers climbed the ladder, both male and female, hurried to do duo performances with TB.

He retired from live preformances several years ago when he revealed publicly Alzheimers was beginning to in his mind compromise the level of excellence he demanded of himself…. in his nineties, mind you.

He said Lady Gaga of all the contemorary artists was his favorite to collaborate with in live perfomances. Me, personally, I loved the stuff he did with Diana Krall and Michael Buble. But it doesn’t matter, Tony Bennett in own way would have been able to meld with Snoop Dog if asked to do it for the good of music he’d make it work.

Truly a man in love of his craft and never one to take the spotlight with his personal life like Sinatra. I know I hold the minority position on this view, but in my mind it was Tony Bennett, and then Frank Sinatra.

At my father’s memorial service, which in actually was more like a lawyer’s wake the way we created it… it was Tony Bennett singing ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ as the ceremony ended.

And I think that’s the way I’ll end my piece on my love and admiration for the life of Tony Bennett.

Bravo. Well done, Tony Bennett.