If Johnny Damon could go from beloved Red Sock to the most reviled man in New England...
If the Sooner throng that once cheered Darrell Royal could declare the Bud Wilkinson hero a mortal enemy...
If Kentucky hoop fans could rain derision on Rick Pitino, the man who restored glory to Big Blue...
Then what do you say we refrain from calling a sportsmanship summit over Oklahoma City booing Blake Griffin?
The Terminator was jeered in his hometown. Which is just as it should be.
Nothing personal against Blake, already a player for the ages as an NBA rookie. He gave us thrills while at Oklahoma Christian School, while at OU and while even an LA Clipper.
We love Blake. We're proud to claim him. Proud to cheer him. Except when he's playing against the Thunder. Then he's Beelzebub.
Welcome to the big leagues. Welcome to the present. Blake's run to the 2009 Elite Eight was fun. But that was then. Wednesday night, Blake Griffin stood in the Thunder's way.
And just in case Blake didn't realize it, the fans let him know.
Booing is a communication form. I don't condone profanity. Don't condone throwing things. Don't condone even name-calling. But booing is a way to deliver a message.
Thunder fans sent a message of sorts on Feb. 22, when Griffin made his OKC debut as a pro and was passionately cheered in pregame, then was met with mostly silence once the ball tipped off.
And Blake went wild: 28 points on 9-of-15 shooting, 11 rebounds, eight assists.
Then when Blake dunked about 15 seconds into the game Wednesday night, fans seemed to say, OK, we tried to be nice. Here's what we think of your dunks.
Before and after the game, Blake's a hero. We'll cheer him in pregame and buy him a steak at Mickey Mantle's postgame. But when the scoreboard's on, he's Johnny Damon.
When the scoreboard's on, nobody in Clipper red gets a break, even if they grew up in Warr Acres. Especially if they grew up in Warr Acres.
This guy's trying to take food off our playoff table. Blake had 35 points on 15-of-20 shooting, 11 rebounds, six assists and no turnovers. And OKC is supposed to hand him the key to the city?
And don't think boo-birds will alienate Blake from his hometown. Don't think boo-birds will keep Blake from considering ever playing in Boomtown. Players make franchise choices based on money, organization quality and opportunity to win.
Heck, I'd say Thunder fans took it easy on Blake. Ten years ago, when Pitino returned to Kentucky's Rupp Arena, only this time to coach the hated Louisvilles, some fan held up a sign: “Joann, we never liked you either,” referring to Pitino's wife.
Sounds good to me. Next season, when the Clippers come to town, how about a sign that says: “Taylor, we never liked you either.”
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at email@example.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.