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James Harden's connection with one special Thunder fan

COMMENTARY — Leola Boyd loved James Harden's game so much she offered to take up a collection to keep the guard in OKC. Now that he's gone, she's going to try to get over it. But Sam Presti would be wise to steer clear for a while.
by Berry Tramel Modified: October 31, 2012 at 8:55 am •  Published: October 30, 2012

“I'm just not happy with the whole thing,” Miss Leola said this week when I called her.

She read my Monday column, how the Thunder gave Harden a final offer of $53 million over four years, which was more than generous but came with a one-hour time limit.

“If they had given Harden two more days, he would have done like KD and Westbrook, and he would have taken a lesser salary,” Miss Leola said. “If I could get my hands on those guys, I would choke 'em. They should have given him a little bit more time.”

Word of warning, Sam Presti. Stay clear of Okeene.

The Thunder is crazy-popular in the state, and Harden ranked with Durant as the most popular of the Boomers. My daughter, 55 years younger than Miss Leola and an avowed sports-hater, called Sunday morning. Haley was not happy.

Haley had fallen for Harden herself last spring. She had heard the news and wanted to know how Harden could be playing for another team. Haley doesn't really understand the concept of a trade, much less the intricacies of the NBA collective bargaining agreement.

I gave Haley the condensed version. “I'm never going to cheer for a sports team again,” she proclaimed.

Miss Leola was not quite so adamant. By conversation's end, she was resigned to life without Harden.

“I guess I'll stay with the Thunder,” Miss Leola said. “But I was sure unhappy when they let Harden go. KD and Westbrook and Collison will be my favorites now.

“I'll try to get over Harden being gone, but I'm still aggravated over it.”

For some in Oklahoma, Harden now is the enemy. A scoundrel for not sticking with Durant and Westbrook. Someone that we used to know.

That's not how Miss Leola Boyd of Okeene feels. If she could see James Harden now, what would she do?

“I think I would probably tell him, I like him, it's been a privilege to watch him play and a privilege to watch him smile. I would go up and give him a big hug and tell him, thank you.”

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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