Jenni Carlson
Sports Columnist

Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football games. Her mom kept the scorebook during baseball games and yelled her head off no matter the sport. They passed along that passion to Carlson and her two younger brothers.

Carlson played golf in high school and planned to play in college, but when she started at the University of Kansas, she decided to focus her attention on journalism. It’s a decision that she’s never regretted.

Her first big story was a profile on Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams for the yearbook, and Carlson has enjoyed interviewing sports figures and sharing their stories every since.
Carlson is a 1997 graduate of Kansas. She and her husband, Ryan, were married in 2009 and live in Oklahoma City. They welcomed their first child, Millie, in June 2012. Carlson was the president of the Association for Women in Sports Media from 2008-10 and chair of the board from 2010-12.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with Jenni Carlson from H&H Shooting Sports

    staff reports | Updated: Wed, Mar 25, 2015

    It's Wednesday on the Power Lunch chat! Get your men's and women's NCAA Tournament, Thunder, and spring football questions in to Jenni Carlson on the Power Lunch chat at 11 a.m., live from H&H Shooting Sports,

  • News of Serge Ibaka's knee problem is no reason to give up on the season

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Mar 16, 2015

    Just think about all the maladies that have befallen this team. Kevin Durant breaks his foot, then has to have a second surgery on his foot to replace a screw. Russell Westbrook breaks his hand, then breaks his face. The list goes on.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook needs Kevin Durant now and forever more

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Wed, Mar 11, 2015

    Playing for the first time since a media pundit suggested Westbrook’s recent play will make it more likely the Thunder will trade Durant — a notion Thunder general manager Sam Presti called “ludicrous” in an interview with our Darnell Mayberry before the game — this night was a reminder of how much the Thunder needs KD. Russ is great. Russ is spectacular. But Russ can’t do it alone, especially against the best teams in the league.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Time to put aside the handwringing and appreciate Russell Westbrook

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    Since the start of the playoffs last spring, Westbrook has notched six triple-doubles. What this guy is doing is not only special but also historic.

  • Thunder notebook: Frank Vogel calls his former point guard D.J. Augustin 'great pick-up' for OKC

    BY ANTHONY SLATER | Published: Tue, Feb 24, 2015

    One person that knows D.J. Augustin well is Indiana coach Frank Vogel. Augustin played for him two seasons ago, serving as the backup point guard for a Pacers team that came within a game of the NBA Finals.

  • Russell Westbrook is creating a lot of buzz inside and outside the classrooms

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Mon, Feb 23, 2015

    Even as Westbrook hoped to inspire off the court, that reaction from the kids when he arrived was a reminder of what he’s doing on the court. The way he’s been playing is worthy of oohs and aahs.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Kendrick Perkins will be missed in many ways

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Thu, Feb 19, 2015

    Thursday brought great change to Oklahoma City. Nearly a third of the roster is turning over. Even though many pundits believe the Thunder was among the day’s biggest winners, it definitely lost something on this NBA trade deadline.

  • Sam Presti's belief in Reggie Jackson was misplaced

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Wed, Feb 18, 2015

    Wednesday, a day before the NBA trade deadline, we learned that Jackson wants out of Oklahoma City and he wants out now. Yahoo Sports broke the news that Jackson’s agent asked Presti that his client to be traded. This puts the Thunder in a huge bind.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    staff reports | Updated: Fri, Jan 16, 2015

    How would a Brook Lopez trade change the Thunder? What kind of work is Travis Ford doing in Stillwater? Is Lincoln Riley the Sooners' answer at offensive coordinator? Ask columnist Jenni Carlson on the Power Lunch chat at 11 a.m.

  • Look at the numbers — Thunder defense is better when Kendrick Perkins is on the floor

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Jan 14, 2015

    The Thunder plays better defense when Perk is on the floor — that’s just not hyperbole; that’s factual — and not surprisingly, the Thunder also wins more games with him on the floor. This is going to blow the minds of some of the Perk detractors out there, but the numbers don’t lie.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder roundtable: What's a realistic move we could see OKC make before the trade deadline?

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Tue, Jan 13, 2015

    The Thunder is at a bit of a crossroads, sitting at 18-19, on the outside of the playoffs looking in and needing to play far better in the second half. So this seems as good a time as any to check in with one of our occasional roundtables.

  • Thunder plays dogged defense late in win over Jazz

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Fri, Jan 9, 2015

    On a night everyone will be buzzing about Kevin Durant’s fourth quarter and Dion Waiters’ late three, this game actually turned when the Thunder decided to quit messing around and lock down on defense.

  • Thunder Blood Drive: Why 9-year-old Thunder fan Gage Novosad is sharing the importance of donating blood

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Thu, Dec 25, 2014

    When the Oklahoma Blood Institute asked Gage Novosad to be its spokeskid for this weekend’s Thunder Blood Drive, he wanted to help. After being diagnosed with leukemia, blood transfusions became a part of his life. He hasn’t needed one in several months, but he got blood from eight donors. With the holidays always being a slow time for blood donations and the blood supply being critically low, he knows there may be other kids like him who need blood now.

  • Thunder basketball: Current stretch of games a tough test for Serge Ibaka

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Serge struggled Sunday against the Pelicans and star power forward Anthony Davis. On Tuesday against LaMarcus Aldridge and the Blazers, then again Thursday against Tim Duncan and the Spurs, Ibaka has a chance at redemption.

  • Thunder basketball: Serge Ibaka's struggles against top power forwards

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Mon, Dec 22, 2014

    Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka has struggled in games against other top power forwards in the NBA this season.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder roundtable: Breaking down the Thunder season after the first trimester

    Published: Sat, Dec 20, 2014

    With all that has already happened, it’s hard to believe the NBA season is only a third old. What have we learned? Who has surprised? Disappointed? We ask four writers four questions, breaking down the first 27 games of OKC’s season.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Jenni Carlson

    staff reports | Updated: Fri, Dec 12, 2014

    The high school playoffs carry on. The Thunder winning streak does as well. Bowl season is near. What's next for Tyreek Hill? Send in your questions to Jenni Carlson on the Power Lunch chat at 11 a.m.

  • Power Lunch: Chat live with columnist Jenni Carlson

    FROM STAFF REPORTS | Published: Fri, Dec 5, 2014

    Come talk Bedlam football, Thunder basketball, Douglass/Locus Grove and more with columnist Jenni Carlson. She'll be taking your questions live starting at 11 a.m.

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Russell Westbrook is all smiles in his return — and so are OKC fans

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Nov 29, 2014

    Russell Westbrook walked back toward the bench as the third quarter ended, and as the music started thumping, he couldn’t help himself. He started dancing. He wasn’t the only one feeling good. On a night that the Thunder point guard returned to the hardwood, that busted bone in his hand finally healed but still protected by a brace, everyone from Scott Brooks to Loud City to the far reaches of Thunder Nation got a reminder of what’s to come. It’s gonna be fun. Lots and lots of fun. Folks may not remember the final score of this game — it was Thunder 105, Knicks 78 for the record — but they’ll long remember the way it felt. “It was exciting, man,” Westbrook said. “It was nice to be able to go

  • What Oklahoma sports fans have to be thankful for during the holiday season

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Sun, Nov 23, 2014

    You already know that these are tough times in our neck of the sports woods. The Thunder is wounded. The Sooners have disappointed. The Cowboys are struggling. But it’s Thanksgiving week, and that means we’re contractually obligated to give thanks. And you know what? Our sports world isn’t without reasons to give thanks.

Jenni Carlson Today at 1:50 PM RT @QuitNguyen: Still have these bad boys if anyone knows who they belong to. @PaseoOKC LINK
Jenni Carlson Sat, Mar. 28 2015 09:08:19 PM CST @don_lytle Absolutely sure.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Mar. 28 2015 09:08:05 PM CST @MotherHays Ha!
Jenni Carlson Sat, Mar. 28 2015 02:44:35 PM CST Just saw someone using a flip phone ... in real life! I'm not a big tech person, but man, it's weird to see a flip phone in use.
Jenni Carlson Fri, Mar. 27 2015 07:33:14 PM CST RT @okcAllSports: First half stats #OKCRegional of @BaylorWBB and @IowaWBB. Baylor leading 42-34 #ncaawb LINK
Jenni Carlson Fri, Mar. 27 2015 01:46:45 PM CST @Tiffanyg89 As she sang, "Lord knows I'm sinnin' ... "
Jenni Carlson Fri, Mar. 27 2015 01:44:03 PM CST @Tiffanyg89 "Interesting" makes me think I didn't sway you to thinking you should like Kim ... ;)
Jenni Carlson Fri, Mar. 27 2015 12:11:52 PM CST Our photog Steve Gooch taking a shot of artist Ray Tennyson. You won't believe what Ray is up to next. Stay tuned. LINK
Jenni Carlson Fri, Mar. 27 2015 10:17:31 AM CST @MartzMimic Thanks, Chris!
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 07:00:37 PM CST RT @JeffEisenberg: Whichever team advances to the Final Four from the West Region will match the Lakers' win total at Staples Center for Ma…
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 06:56:48 PM CST @amymoritz Nope! In fact I will leg wrestle to be her biggest media fan ... ;)
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 06:52:20 PM CST So, I might have written a few words today about Kim Mulkey. And by a few, I mean a ton. LINK
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 06:42:09 PM CST @BDavisAAS Marv is looking to bolt? ;)
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 06:41:41 PM CST RT @StanfordWBB: Moving trip... RT @tomgfitzgerald: @Stanfordwbb players 'teary-eyed' on visit to Oklahoma City memorial LINK
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 09:57:20 AM CST @cityofokc No problem. Thanks for all you do!
Jenni Carlson Thu, Mar. 26 2015 07:18:03 AM CST @cityofokc A couple of trees are down and partially in the street on NW 19th between May and Drexel. Assuming storm related.
Jenni Carlson Wed, Mar. 25 2015 10:18:11 PM CST Good news about the Thunder being blown out -- I will feel no guilt going to bed early.
Jenni Carlson Wed, Mar. 25 2015 10:14:16 PM CST @RandyPete All good here. Spent some quality time in the basement, tho. @BerryTramel is in Syracuse, but I think his peeps are good. Thanks
Jenni Carlson Wed, Mar. 25 2015 10:03:09 PM CST RT @jasonkersey: I talked with @TonyDungy about @Coach_Diron. Nothing but praise for the new #Sooners DL coach: LINK
Jenni Carlson Wed, Mar. 25 2015 09:38:08 PM CST So, about the Thunder D. Oh, wait, there is none tonight.