Berry Tramel
Sports Columnist and Reporter

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, the Oklahoma City Times, the Norman Transcript and the Oklahoma Journal — and entered the newspaper business at the age of 17, with the Transcript in 1978. His first game assignment was the Lexington-Elmore City high school football game, and he has enjoyed the journey ever since, from high school wrestling duals and regional track meets to Orange Bowls and the NBA playoffs.

Tramel was born and raised in Norman, Okla. He and his wife, Tricia, were married in 1980 and live in Norman near their daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters.

  • Sloppy play ends for Durant and Westbrook

    By Berry Tramel Columnist | Updated: Mon, Mar 14, 2016

    Two turnovers. One from aggression, one from carelessness. The aggression the Thunder can live with. The carelessness it cannot. And the Thunder didn’t have to try. The carelessness mostly went away in the Thunder’s 128-94 rout of the Blazers.

  • Lack of will is the Thunder's problem

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, Mar 14, 2016

    The Thunder is in a tailspin — 4-8 since the All-Star break, with hope growing thinner by the game that this once-title contender actually could make a run at Golden State or San Antonio. And despite the constant roster examinations and the frequent demands that Sam Presti’s roster has failed, the truth is different. The Thunder’s problem is not personnel. It is not physical. The Thunder’s problem is mental. The Thunder’s primary shortcomings are will-based. They are elementary. The Thunder does not get back on defense and does not take care of the ball on offense. Those deficiencies are intertwined, of course. Commit live-ball turnovers, and don’t hustle back on defense,

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Berry Tramel

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Fri, Mar 11, 2016

    Join The Oklahoman's Berry Tramel to talk OU, OSU and the Thunder in the Power Lunch live chat at 11 a.m.

  • Thunder journal: OKC players, coaches reflect on Aubrey McClendon memorial

    By Erik Horne, Darnell Mayberry and Berry Tramel Staff Writers | Published: Mon, Mar 7, 2016

    On Monday, the team gathered to honor Thunder part-owner Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy who died March 2 in a single-vehicle crash in northeast Oklahoma City.

  • Mohammed played big role for Thunder five years ago

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, Mar 7, 2016

    Nazr Mohammed is back with the Thunder, and he’s clearly been brought back to be a presence in the locker room, not in the paint. I wrote about Mohammed for the Sunday Oklahoman, which you can read here. Mohammed came to the Thunder at the trade deadline in 2011, brought in from Charlotte for D.J. White and Morris Peterson. Mohammed spent the rest of that season and all the next with OKC. It’s been almost four years since Mohammed’s final Thunder game, and sometimes you can forget how much a player helped. Mohammed helped a bunch. In 2010-11, Mohammed played 24 games with the Thunder and started seven. He averaged 17.9 minutes, 6.9 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. Those aren’t

  • Maybe Nazr Mohammed can hold Durant, Westbrook accountable

    By Berry Tramel Columnist | Published: Sat, Mar 5, 2016

    The NBA is a players' league. That means the players run the league. It also means that players listen mostly to other players. Strategy comes from coaches, and if they build strong relationships, all the better. Motivation comes from within. But accountability? Players mostly answer to each other. Which explains why Nazr Mohammed is back in Thunder blue. The regal center, 38 years wise, signed with the Thunder on Saturday, filling the 15th roster spot. Mohammed, the backup center on the Thunder's 2012 NBA Finals team, wasn't brought back in case DeMarcus Cousins gets Steven Adams and Enes Kanter in foul trouble again. Mohammed was brought back to be a locker room voice. To be a team leader.

  • Fourth-quarter slumps of Durant and Westbrook are for different reasons

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Mar 4, 2016

    By now you know the sordid fourth-quarter statistic: the Thunder has lost 10 games this season in which it led after three quarters. The only NBA team with more such dubious defeats is the Philadelphia 76ers. You do not want to be on a list with the Sixers. Ten losses is half the Thunder’s season total. Four of those 10 losses have come since the All-Star Game. OKC is 2-6 since the all-star break, a miserable slump that ranks as perhaps the Thunder’s worst stretch other than Year 1 and the Egyptian Plague season a year ago. But the Thunder has led after three quarters in six of the eight games since the All-Star Game. All but that ridiculous beatdown by the Cavaliers.

  • Thunder starting unit a silver lining vs. Warriors

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Mar 4, 2016

    This might not be the best time to broach the subject, but the Thunder’s 0-3 record against the Warriors this season comes with a silver lining. The Thunder staged a solid comeback on Super Bowl Saturday night, tied the Warriors late and eventually lost 116-108. The Thunder had an 11-point lead on Golden State late last Saturday, a four-point lead with 15 seconds left and somehow blew it, letting the Warriors get to overtime, where Steph Curry’s famous shot beat OKC 121-118. And the Thunder had a nine-point lead late in the third quarter Thursday night before disintegrating and losing 121-106. Thunder optimism is at a five-year low, discounting the injury plague of last season.

  • Why the Warriors are like Mike Leach

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, Mar 3, 2016

    The Thunder plays a basketball game tonight. Against the Warriors. Maybe you’ve heard of them. The events of the last day or so have shrouded what was shaping up as a battle royale rematch. Saturday night, the Thunder and Warriors staged one of the most celebrated regular season games in recent NBA history. Golden State, down 11 in the final five minutes, rallied to force overtime after Kevin Durant threw away the ball, then fouled Andre Igoudala. In OT, Durant fouled out early, the Thunder still took a lead and Golden State rallied again, winning on Steph Curry’s heroic shot, which has been estimated at ranging anywhere from 32 to 38 feet.

  • Durant and Westbrook responsible for Thunder meltdown

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, Mar 3, 2016

    A frustrated Thunder fan sent me an email early Thursday morning. It was succinct. “Who gets fired?” He was talking, of course, about the Thunder’s total meltdown in the fourth quarter at Los Angeles. The Thunder led 85-65 with 30 seconds left in the third period and 95-81 with five minutes left, yet the Clippers won 103-98. My answer was succinct, too. You can’t fire the guys responsible. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The Thunder’s loss was not a result of execution, despite poor execution in the fourth quarter. The Thunder’s loss was not the result of strategy or rotations or coaching decisions.

  • McClendon ‘encapsulated the real spirit of Oklahoma City’

    By Berry Tramel Columnist | Updated: Wed, Mar 2, 2016

    Aubrey McClendon dreamed big. Lucky for us, most of his dreams centered on Oklahoma City.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Berry Tramel

    From Staff Reports | Updated: Wed, Mar 2, 2016

    Join The Oklahoman's columnist Berry Tramel to talk OU, OSU and the Thunder in the Power Lunch live chat at 11 a.m.

  • Remember the Suns: Enjoy the Thunder ride while it lasts

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Tue, Mar 1, 2016

      The Thunder has been in town almost eight years, and it’s been quite a ride. Exhilaration over having a team. Acceptance at its original lowly state. Jubilation over becoming competitive quickly. Euphoria over becoming great quickly. And spoiled over having great teams year after year (2014-15 not withstanding). We are the exception. We are not the rule. Most NBA cities don’t get this kind of ride. Oh, San Antonio does. Dallas, for the last 15 years, with a little more variation. Salt Lake did in the ‘90s. Los Angeles, when Jerry Buss walked the Earth. But for the most part, what we’re experiencing in Oklahoma City is rare. And the Phoenix Suns prove it. Phoenix has been a solid NBA

  • Blake Griffin will be cheered in Norman — and should be

    By Berry Tramel Columnist | Published: Mon, Feb 29, 2016

    OU will raise Griffin’s No. 23 jersey to the Lloyd Noble Center rafters at halftime of the Baylor game, and he will be cheered lustily. Which is as it should be.

  • Why you should feel better about the Thunder after losing to the Warriors

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Sun, Feb 28, 2016

    Residue from the Thunder’s 121-118 overtime loss to the Warriors will remain long past OKC’s four-game road trip, which starts Monday night against the Kings and concludes Sunday against the Bucks. It’s up to the Thunder whether that residue is positive or negative. The loss had to be discouraging to a Thunder team that had been slumping, yet played 47:45 strong minutes of regulation, only to allow the Warriors to force overtime despite a four-point deficit with 14.5 seconds left. You know what happened next. Kevin Durant fouled out, the Thunder hung tough, then Steph Curry hit a shot that will long be remembered in NBA annals. But the Thunder can draw strength from this game.

  • OKC Thunder: Golden State's Steph Curry goes deep to break OKC hearts

    By Berry Tramel, Columnist, | Published: Sun, Feb 28, 2016

    Andre Roberson had his eye on Steph Curry. The Warriors had the ball, final seconds, tie game in overtime Saturday night, and Curry was half-hurrying the ball upcourt. The Thunder's Roberson was in decent position to defend any NBA player who ever lived. Except the one who had the ball. From 32 feet out, with about two seconds left, Curry pulled up. He had plenty of time to get closer. But closer is irrelevant to Curry. He rattled home a 3-pointer that broke records, not to mention Oklahoma City hearts, and gave the mighty Warriors a 121-118 victory over the Thunder. “Another ridiculous shooting performance from Steph,” said Warrior coach Steve Kerr. “What's the expression? From the ridiculous to the

  • OKC Thunder report card: OKC actually played solid 3-point defense in OT loss to Warriors

    By Berry Tramel, Columnist, | Published: Sat, Feb 27, 2016

    The Thunder played great at times and valiantly at times, but in the end, they were trumped by Steph Curry's greatness and lost to the Warriors 121-118 in overtime. The grades reflect a wild night in Oklahoma City. 3-POINT DEFENSE: B I know it sounds goofy to give a decent assessment on a night when Curry tied the NBA record with 12 3-pointers, on only 16 attempts. But the Thunder was all over Curry on most of those long bombs. The rest of the Warriors made just two of 16 from beyond the arc. This was a night when good offense beat good defense. PLAYING WITHOUT DURANT: B When Kevin Durant fouled out with 4:13 left in overtime, the Thunder led 108-104 after Curry's subsequent foul shot.

  • The Thunder plays the 1927 Yankees

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Feb 26, 2016

    The ’27 Yankees are in town Saturday night. Or the ’72 Dolphins, if you prefer your sports analogies with shoulder pads. But I prefer the ’27 Yankees. The ’27 Yankees went 110-44, a success rate rarely matched in baseball’s 142 years, and did so with a flare and a weapon that transformed the game. In 1927, Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs and Lou Gehrig slugged 47. The highest American League team total outside the Bronx was 56. Now here are the Warriors, launching and making 3-pointers at a record rate that has made the basketball world pause on how to play the game. The Warriors bring a 52-5 record into the Saturday night game against the Thunder. Golden State is on pace for 74.8

  • Time for acceptance: The Thunder defense stinks

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Feb 26, 2016

    What are the five stages of grief? Denial/isolation, anger, bargaining (if only…), depression, acceptance. So let me ask you. Where are we with this Thunder defense, which didn’t collapse Thursday night in a 123-119 loss at New Orleans. To collapse, you have to be upright. The Thunder defense never was. The Thunder gave up at least 60 points in both halves (61/62), a level of futility rarely seen in OKC. I understand off nights. I understand fatigue on the back end of consecutive-night games. But when a team is torched in both halves of a game, it’s a sign of apathy and/or inability. When you give up at least 60 points in each half, to an underwhelming team like the Pelicans, you can’t write

  • Is Oscar Robertson just a crusty old man when it comes to Steph Curry?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, Feb 26, 2016

    Oscar Robertson is not ready to endorse a statue of Steph Curry as a basketball wonder for the ages. Of that we can be sure. The Big O this week on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike Show downplayed Curry’s shooting heroics, saying in part that modern coaches “do not understand the game of basketball” and that there were “great shooters in the past.” Robertson has been widely panned. Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who played in the NBA in the ‘90s, some three decades after Robertson’s heyday, referred sarcastically to the Big O’s comments, saying after Curry’s 51-point game Thursday night that “Oh I’m sure, yeah, I could have stopped this back in my time.

Berry Tramel Today at 10:53 AM Is Memphis right for Big 12 expansion?
Berry Tramel Thu, May. 05 2016 08:12:15 PM CST Now you know why Andre Roberson starts for the Thunder
Berry Tramel Thu, May. 05 2016 09:54:03 AM CST Good news for Thunder: Spurs have some road issues
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 04 2016 07:51:03 PM CST Thunder journal: LaMarcus Aldridge in historic company through two games
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 04 2016 05:27:51 PM CST Josh Richardson has become Heat's rookie of the year
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 04 2016 03:03:50 PM CST San Antonio travelblog: 90 mph on the Pickle Parkway
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 04 2016 10:40:32 AM CST LaMarcus Aldridge having historic series against Thunder
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 08:09:42 PM CST OKC Thunder: Billy Donovan needs to bag a timeout
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 04:40:19 PM CST Spurs fan: Popovich coached a bad game
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 02:29:26 PM CST Why the furor? Spurs got what they needed
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 02:29:25 PM CST San Antonio travelblog: A tight deadline and shooting NBA treys
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 11:31:54 AM CST Thunder evens series with more physical approach
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 10:27:10 AM CST Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 03 2016 02:54:13 AM CST OKC Thunder: Grading the Thunder's 98-97 win over the Spurs
Berry Tramel Mon, May. 02 2016 02:44:40 PM CST Eastern Conference semifinals: Go with Toronto & Cleveland
Berry Tramel Mon, May. 02 2016 02:44:40 PM CST San Antonio travelblog: Trying to interview Gregg Popovich
Berry Tramel Sun, May. 01 2016 08:39:18 PM CST Time for the Thunder to fear Kawhi Leonard
Berry Tramel Sun, May. 01 2016 07:34:13 PM CST MANU GINÓBILI Q&A: Head sometimes hard to control
Berry Tramel Sun, May. 01 2016 02:53:26 PM CST San Antonio travelblog: Good eats at the Josephine Street Bar & Grill
Berry Tramel Sun, May. 01 2016 01:03:43 AM CST Thunder must play much better, else summer of Durant will get here quickly