The Thunder likes to talk bill itself as a state-wide team. Heck, the Thunder is a state-wide team. No reason to debate it. And now the Thunder is even acknowledging the state-wide draw. It’s drafting players whose names salute Oklahoma towns.
The Thunder already had players who honor notable Oklahoma places — Durant, Perkins — but now the Thunder is collecting players with double Oklahoma names. Perry Jones.
Perry, the county seat of Noble County, home of the Maroons and legendary wrestling. Jones, the town in Oklahoma County about eight miles straight east of our office on Britton Road, home of the Longhorns and generally a frisky football team.
Perry Jones joins Russell Westbrook in the Oklahoma Heritage Club.
Russell is a switch and loading point on the Santa Fe Raildroad, six miles north of Guthrie in Logan County. There also was a Westbrook (one mile south of Hallett, in Pawnee County, townsite plat filed Oct. 10, 1902).
That’s just part of the Thunder’s remarkable tip to Oklahoma place names.
There was a Hardin (the original name of Hobart, one of my favorite Oklahoma Mayberrys, down in Kiowa County), and if you’re a stickler for spelling, there’s a Harden City (11 miles south of Ada in Pontotoc County, post office established May 7, 1937).
There’s a Fisher (three miles west of Sand Springs, in Tulsa County, established as a post office in 1904, though the post office has been gone 100 years). And there’s a Fisher’s Station, though some know it as Carriage Point (three miles west of Durant, in Bryan County, a stage stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route to California, which crossed southeastern Oklahoma 1858-61).
There’s a Cole. I’ve been there. I’ve got a friend who lives there and a boss who lives there (seven miles southeast of Blanchard, in McClain County, established as a post office on April 2, 1912, though the post office closed in 1954).
There’s a Hayward (five miles southeast of Covington, in Garfield County; the post office closed in 1963).
There’s a Royal (10 miles southwest of Elmore City, in Stephens County, post office established 1904, closed in 1932. The name was selected by the first postmaster, the Rev. G.B. Hughes, to portray the royal manner with which he intended to give service).
There was a Cook (five miles north of Maud, in Pottawatomie County; the post office was open from 1894 to 1904).
There are/were four Jacksons. I guess Reggie makes a Jackson 5. Anyway, Oklahoma’s Jacksons are: 1) six miles southeast of Bennington, in Bryan County, post office from 1894-1920; 2) four miles north of Luther, in Logan County, named changed to Tohee in 1890, six months after the post was established; 3) a county ni Pushmataha District, Choctaw Nation, organized in 1886; 4) In Stephens County, near Velma, a post office for six months in 1886, no longer in existence.
Alas, there is no Eric, but there is an Erick (right on I-40, west of Elk City, in Beckham County. Post office established 1901. Home of Roger Miller — “King of the Road” — and Cal’s Diner, famous for its cinnamon rolls.
And of course you know about Durant, the Bryan County seat and home of Southeastern State University. A few years ago, the Thunder wanted to do a marketing campaign with Kevin Durant and his namesake, until it checked a roadmap and saw you go to Ardmore, hang a left and drive another hour. Durant Station, an early post office, was established in 1879.
Plus there’s Perkins, south of Stillwater in Payne County, established 1890, home of Cimarron Trails Golf Club and New York Mets pitcher Jeremy Hefner.
And what of Thabo Sefolosha, Serge Ibaka, Nick Collison and Nazr Mohammed? It’s obvious what the Thunder must do. No, not trade them. Make like Jim Thorpe, Pa., and get a town to adopt their name.