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Kendrick Perkins already loves Oklahoma City

New Thunder center Kendrick Perkins’ contract extension is another example of how big-time NBA players can learn to like life in one of the league’s smallest markets.

Published: March 2, 2011

Oklahoma City is a great place but an acquired taste. If you didn’t grow up here, you generally have to learn to love it. So how did Perkins get overwhelmed in four days?

“Being around our people, our community, being around Oklahoma City, that’s a huge strength,” Presti said.

Perkins twice has mentioned the welcome he received at Will Rogers, when he was cheered walking through the airport Thursday night.

Hey, it’s not like Perkins wasn’t a hero in Boston. Beantown knows its basketball and loved its big man who cares more about winning than who gets the credit. But maybe walking through the terminal showed him he could be a hero elsewhere, too. Same with the ovation Perkins received before the Laker game Sunday; the 2008 NBA championship center said he got chills.

“May not seem like a lot, but it was a lot to me,” Perkins said. “It was really cool.”

The Thunder didn’t have Perkins at hello, but it wasn’t long thereafter. From the trade to the convoluted-but-quickly-turned contract offer to telling Perkins to rest easy and get that knee healthy before making his Thunder debut, the message has been consistent. Perkins is important to this franchise.

“The organization is first class,” Perkins said. “I’m impressed with everything ... how things are handled here. Great staff. Just unbelievable.”

It’s nice to feel wanted. Big paychecks create that feeling, but so do personal touches. The Presti Plan soars.

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 AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

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