Blake Griffin is the homegrown kid, but as a professional, Chris Paul also grew up in Oklahoma City.
He spent his first two seasons in Oklahoma City with the relocated New Orleans Hornets and, as he embarks on his first playoff series against his former city, Paul reflected back on those special times.
What’s it like for you, you began your career here?
I always say this about Oklahoma, it has a special place in my heart. It’s where I won Rookie of the Year, played my first two years, where I started becoming a professional. But once they roll the ball out there, it’s basketball.
What was that year like?
It was unreal. I had never seen anything like it. Obviously it was me being new to the NBA. Our locker room was right back around the corner (points). It was fun, loved it here. The fans were unreal. I was telling somebody, I had a basketball camp after my rookie year here. I had like 450 kids. It was a great time here. I had a lot of relationships and people I still keep in contact with.
Do you feel like those two seasons are sort of the reason the Thunder are here?
I definitely think it has something to do with it. Because I think everyone around the league got an opportunity to see that this city could support an NBA franchise. I mean, everybody sees it when you play here, when you watch it on TV. These are some of the best fans in the entire league.