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.


  • Thunder Buddies Podcast: Recapping the Spurs series, previewing the Warriors

    Thunder Buddies Podcast: Recapping the Spurs...

    Anthony Slater,Berry Tramel,Erik Horne | Updated: Tue, May 17, 2016

    Welcome to the home of our Thunder Buddies podcast, named, in part, from Universal Studio's highly-acclaimed comedy 'Ted', but inspired by our continued hope for wall-to-wall coverage of the Thunder. Below is our list of episodes (click the link to listen). If you prefer iTunes for your podcast listening experience, click here and subscribe. Hope you enjoy: Thunder Buddies -- Spurs recap, Warriors lookahead (<–Click Here) - The Thunder finished off its thrilling series win over the Spurs on Thursday night. Now they prepare for an intriguing West Finals matchup with the 73-win Warriors. We recap the San Antonio series and look ahead to Golden State.

  • Thunder's Steve Adams comes up big in Game 1 stunner over Warriors

    Thunder\'s Steve Adams comes up big in Game 1...

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Updated: Tue, May 17, 2016

    OAKLAND, Calif. — The Thunder led by a solitary point, one minute remained in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals and Russell Westbrook drove the lane and tossed the ball in Steven Adams' general direction. It wasn't one of Westbrook's finer lobs. Adams got a hand on the ball to keep it alive, then ran it down with a hustling recovery near the top of the key. The shot clock wasn't in danger of expiring, but Adams was not covered. So he did something no one expected him to do. Adams dribbled, with force, into the paint. Why would Stone Cold do such a thing? “Honestly, no idea,” Adams said. “No idea. That could have went absolutely tragic.” It didn't end tragically. It ended magically.

  • Why the Thunder can't double team Steph Curry?

    Why the Thunder can\'t double team Steph Curry?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, May 16, 2016

    The Golden State Warriors are not exactly the same kind of team as they were a year ago, when they won the NBA championship. Primarily, their offense runs differently. Golden State’s point guard doesn’t lead the team in assists. Steph Curry is the NBA most valuable player, but he’s second on the team in assists. Curry averages 6.7 assists per game. Hybrid Draymond Green, who sometimes plays center but is actually a point forward, averages 7.4 assists per game. A year ago, Curry averaged 7.7 assists per game; Green averaged 3.7.

  • Oakland travelblog: Lunch at Fisherman's Wharf

    Oakland travelblog: Lunch at Fisherman\'s Wharf

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Mon, May 16, 2016

    What do you know about Oakland? Let me rephrase. What do you know about Oakland other than the Raiders and the Athletics? Let’s see. It’s on the east side of San Francisco Bay. It’s got a bunch of shipyards along its side of the bay. The Bay Bridge connects it to San Francisco. Oakland has a fairly rough reputation. And that's about it. Think about it. Of all the major league cities in America, we know less about Oakland than virtually any other city. Maybe not Jacksonville. But maybe. Is that what others think about Oklahoma City? Maybe. But we’ve got the cowboy culture and the American Indian heritage, and to whatever degree they’re true or not, people at least think about those

  • Thunder: The origins of small ball

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Sun, May 15, 2016

    The Warriors won the 2015 NBA title taking a small-ball lineup to the extreme. Golden State replaced center Andrew Bogut in the starting lineup with wingman Andre Igoudala, effectively making undersized power forward Draymond Green the Warriors' center. Perhaps Golden State perfected small ball, but the Warriors didn't invent it. The spread-out game was pioneered decades earlier by Don Nelson, who from 1977-2010 coached 31 years and won an NBA-record 1,335 games. Nelson experimented with unorthodox five-man units in the 1980s with the Milwaukee Bucks, then in the early 1990s used a lineup at Golden State consisting of perimeter players Mitch Richmond, Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin, “Run TMC,” and various other non-post

  • Gregg Popovich reflects on Thunder-Spurs series

    Gregg Popovich reflects on Thunder-Spurs  series

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Sat, May 14, 2016

    I didn’t have the greatest of post-games after the Thunder eliminated the Spurs on Thursday night. I quickly finished my first-edition column — probably took no more than five minutes – then headed down to the interview room. But I was too late. I missed Gregg Popovich. I actually heard Pop’s final answer to a question. But I wanted to hear the entire press conference, because, as you know, I like the challenge of asking Popovich a question that he’ll answer. And when he does answer, he provides great insight. So it didn’t work out. But the Spurs on Friday sent the transcript of his season-ending press conference. Here is the Thunder-relevant stuff.

  • Has the NBA bid farewell to Manu Ginobili & Tim Duncan?

    Has the NBA bid farewell to Manu Ginobili & Tim...

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, May 13, 2016

    I introduced you to Spurs fan Heath Holt a couple of times in recent weeks. He works and lives in Oklahoma now but is a lifelong Spurs fan. Heath was really reflective after the Spurs were eliminated in Game 6, since it was possibly the final game for both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili. Duncan played the entire fourth quarter, meaning there was no ceremonial exit for one of the NBA’s greatest players. Ginobili fouled out in the final minute of the game, and the Thunder public address played “Hit the Road, Jack” as the crowd roared and Ginobili walked to the bench. That’s not how one of basketball’s greatest champions should go out.

  • Is this the best Thunder roster ever?

    Is this the best Thunder roster ever?

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, May 13, 2016

    My readers have good ideas. Adams Arms wrote me this week with an interesting question. “If you could cherry pick players from any and all previous Thunder rosters – any player, any year -- could you assemble a better seven-man rotation than they've got right now? James Harden is the exception, of course. But with how good he is now, there wouldn't be enough shots to go around. And with his classically terrible effort on the defensive end, I'm not even sure he would even be a good fit. You can include or exclude Harden if you want. Tell me a roster of seven guys you'd take over the current rotation. Fisher, Perkins, Cook, Thabo, Collison, Kristic, Butler, Maynor.

  • Thunder stays big and plays big against Spurs' small-ball lineup

    Thunder stays big and plays big against Spurs\'...

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Fri, May 13, 2016

    Some San Antonio people were talking before Game 5 at the AT&T Center the other night. The Thunder had tied the series 2-2, and they were trying to figure out how Gregg Popovich could ignite the Spurs. Their theory: go to a small-ball lineup. Try to get another shooter on the court. Pop didn’t do that in Game 5, and the Thunder won a 95-91 prizefight. But at halftime of Game 6 Thursday night, with the Thunder up 55-31 and blowing the roof off Chesapeake Arena on its way to an eventual 113-99 victory, Popovich decided a small lineup couldn’t hurt. So to start the second half, Popovich sat down one ancient star, Tim Duncan, in favor of another, Manu Ginobili.

  • Transformation: Thunder beats the Spurs at their own game

    Transformation: Thunder beats the Spurs at...

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Fri, May 13, 2016

    The series opened with a blowout. It ended with a blowout the other way. And remarkably, in between, the Thunder became the Spurs. The Spurs became the Thunder. In winning four of the final five games, OKC went San Antonio-style.

  • Thunder Report Card: OKC's defensive mainstays aced Game 6 test

    Thunder Report Card: OKC\'s defensive mainstays...

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Published: Thu, May 12, 2016

    The Thunder broke away from the Spurs and led by huge margins most of Game 6, before a late Spurs rally made the final score respectable, 113-99. The dominant performance deserves dominant grades: BALL SECURITY: A. Russell Westbrook threw a wild pass on OKC's first possession. Then the Thunder didn't commit a turnover the next 13 minutes. OKC had just three turnovers at halftime and led by 24 points. San Antonio had trouble scoring in the halfcourt. Its best offense in recent games came in transition. But the Thunder didn't allow the Spurs to get fast-break points — OKC outscored San Antonio 14-2 in transition through three quarters and 21-5 for the game. The Spurs lost Game 5 even with the Thunder committing 20 turnovers. San

  • Thunder routs Spurs to win series 4-2, complete transformation

    Thunder routs Spurs to win series 4-2, complete...

    BY BERRY TRAMEL | Updated: Thu, May 12, 2016

    Steven Adams dunked off a pass from Randy Foye, and 23 seconds later, just before the buzzer ended the first quarter, Kevin Durant dunked off a fast break. The rout was on. Adams, Russell Westbrook and Enes Kanter each made two fouls shots in the final 76 seconds of the second quarter, then Durant buried a deep 3-pointer just before the halftime buzzer to give OKC a 24-point halftime lead. The rout was complete. The Thunder blasted the Spurs 113-99 Thursday night at Chesapeake Arena to win this Western Conference semifinal series that started with a blowout one way and ended with the same the other way. And what came in between was even more remarkable. The Thunder became the Spurs. The Spurs became the Thunder.

  • San Antonio travelblog: A spaceship & Torchy's tacos

    San Antonio travelblog: A spaceship & Torchy\'s...

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, May 12, 2016

    Great columns start with the idea. It’s hard to write or report your way out of the hole of a bad idea. For example: basketball should use two balls at one time. Another example: baseball should figure out a way that lets the defense score. Goofy ideas. You’re not going to get far supporting such nonsense. So the idea is the foundation. And I’m lucky. Our sports editor, Mike Sherman, is a fountain of ideas. We chatted Wednesday morning, after Game 5 of Thunder-Spurs. I was in my San Antonio hotel room, about to leave for the drive home, and Sherman trotted out an idea: the entertainment value of Russell Westbrook. Just how wild it is to be a Thunder fan who lives and dies 100 nights a year with Westbrook. His

  • Why Russell Westbrook is like Bob Dylan & National Geographic

    Why Russell Westbrook is like Bob Dylan &...

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, May 12, 2016

    For the Thursday Oklahoman, I wrote about Russell Westbrook’s entertainment value. It’s high, in case you didn’t know. You can read that column here. I reached out to some fans and we talked to some teammates, but I had more stuff than I could possibly fit into a single column. So I thought I would share what people had to say about the Thunder’s mercurial point guard. CHRIS NICK, Oklahoma City: “It’s like watching something on the National Geographic Channel that you have never seen before. You think, ‘Well, that is very interesting and I can understand why that would do something along those lines.’ Then pow! You jump out of your seat and say, ‘You kidding me; no way

  • Thunder has survived while playing from behind

    Thunder has survived while playing from behind

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Thu, May 12, 2016

    One of the most impressive things about the Thunder’s 3-2 series lead over the Spurs is OKC’s ability to play from behind. The Thunder twice has won games in which it trailed the majority of the game. In Game 5 Tuesday night in San Antonio, the Spurs led for 30:55 of the game’s 48 minutes. The Thunder led for 23:07, but for just 65 seconds of the second half. In Game 4 Sunday night in OKC, the Spurs led 31:40 of the game’s 48 minutes. But until the fourth quarter, the Thunder led for just 17 seconds. Then the Thunder led for the game’s final 9:13. Only in Game 2, when the Thunder jumped to the big lead, did OKC lead for the majority of the game.

  • Tim Duncan has the best plus-minus in Thunder-Spurs series

    Tim Duncan has the best plus-minus in...

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, May 11, 2016

    Dion Waiters played 26 minutes in Game 5 of Thunder-Spurs on Tuesday night, and the Thunder outscored San Antonio by 18 points during those 26 minutes. That was the biggest plus-minus, by far, of any player on either team. Billy Donovan was pleased with Waiters’ performance — nine points on 3-of-5 shooting, 3-of-4 foul shooting, three rebounds, two assists and one turnover — but cautioned against putting too much stock into plus-minus. “Sometimes the plus-minus is a little misleading,” Donovan said. “Who’s out there? What’s going on? But Dion’s given us good minutes coming off the bench. That’s been encouraging to see. He’s been in some different

  • Game 5 frustrations from a Spurs fan

    Game 5 frustrations from a Spurs fan

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, May 11, 2016

    I wrote about Spurs fan Heath Holt last week. He lives in Oklahoma now but still passionately follows his Spurs. Heath was optimistic about Game 5 but distraught after the Thunder won 95-91 to take a 3-2 series lead. His observations about the Spurs are interesting. So is his perspective, for a franchise that has won five NBA titles and is coming off a 67-win regular season. He still found plenty to be despondent about. I told him he sounds like Thunder fans who feel some kind of entitlement to victory. Heath said the Spurs lacked “heart,” which to me is absurd. A bunch of old guys, in there fighting for NBA supremacy. Space Cowboys.

  • Thunder Buddies podcast: Discussing the Thunder's huge Game 5 win in San Antonio

    Thunder Buddies podcast: Discussing the...

    Anthony Slater,Berry Tramel,Erik Horne | Updated: Wed, May 11, 2016

    Welcome to the home of our Thunder Buddies podcast, named, in part, from Universal Studio's highly-acclaimed comedy 'Ted', but inspired by our continued hope for wall-to-wall coverage of the Thunder. Below is our list of episodes (click the link to listen). If you prefer iTunes for your podcast listening experience, click here and subscribe. Hope you enjoy: Thunder Buddies -- Spurs-Thunder Game 5 recap (<–Click Here) - Led by a psychotic Russell Westbrook performance, the Thunder escaped San Antonio with a monster Game 5 win. What was most impressive? What have you thought about the coaching of Billy Donovan? The play of Enes Kanter? We discuss.

  • San Antonio travelblog: How the Riverwalk is like the AT&T Center

    San Antonio travelblog: How the Riverwalk is...

    Berry Tramel | Updated: Wed, May 11, 2016

    For two straight games in San Antonio, I’ve walked the concourse immediately after the game, and it’s a surrealistic feeling. Hundreds of stunned Spurs fans, milling toward the exits, with the only sounds coming from an occasional gloating Thunder fan. Not the day the Earth stood still, but eerie. At least for those in San Antonio black. The quick trip to San Antonio for Game 5 ended in a rousing 95-91 victory for the Thunder, which now controls this Western Conference semifinal series. It’s possible we’ll be back for Game 7; the road team has won three of the five games in this series. So who knows? But the quick trip was a memorable trip for all things Oklahoma City. For us, not a lot of

  • Thunder becoming fourth-quarter closers

    Thunder becoming fourth-quarter closers

    By Berry Tramel Columnist btramel@oklahoman.com | Updated: Wed, May 11, 2016

    SAN ANTONIO — The final buzzer sounded, and the Thunder celebrated only mildly. The AT&T Center was stunned; its heroes had lost for the second time in eight days, after the whole NBA had combined to beat the Spurs just once all season in Alamo City. So the Thunder's 95-91 victory was worthy of jubilation. But the Thunder was largely muted leaving the court. A few hugs. A few smiles, including a grin from a certain Billy Donovan who is up 3-2 on Gregg Popovich. Mitch McGary clapped his hands. That's about it. The Thunder stayed calm. Which is as it should be. That's why the Thunder won. In the fourth quarter, when Thunder things have soured so many times this season, the timeout huddles were low-key. “Like we've




Berry Tramel Today at 2:02 AM Epic collapse by Durant & Westbrook forces Game 7 https://t.co/pD0dJRZ9NE
Berry Tramel Today at 2:02 AM Report card: Grading the Thunder's performance in Game 6 https://t.co/VxFeCC0saB
Berry Tramel Fri, May. 27 2016 08:49:06 PM CST OKC Thunder journal: Billy Donovan leaves Draymond Green's continued kicking in NBA's hands https://t.co/rCwZVZ0ZvX
Berry Tramel Fri, May. 27 2016 07:03:44 PM CST Thunder has flipped the script against Golden State https://t.co/1NhYGM4N8V
Berry Tramel Fri, May. 27 2016 02:23:45 PM CST Did foul shot discrepancy cost Thunder in Game 5? https://t.co/I98snXlEbk
Berry Tramel Fri, May. 27 2016 12:07:24 PM CST Oakland travelblog: The views from Coit Tower https://t.co/Ab7w5Bj9Lx
Berry Tramel Fri, May. 27 2016 10:57:58 AM CST The two reasons why Baylor fired Art Briles https://t.co/XJsHf7L4nq
Berry Tramel Fri, May. 27 2016 12:37:25 AM CST Warriors go big to stay alive vs. Thunder https://t.co/AcmJKl1ZHp
Berry Tramel Thu, May. 26 2016 07:14:35 PM CST If Steph Curry is 70 percent, how do you explain Game 2? https://t.co/kySitCSwIz
Berry Tramel Thu, May. 26 2016 02:22:46 PM CST Oakland travelblog: Working on little sleep https://t.co/eXUpNR6CId
Berry Tramel Thu, May. 26 2016 07:12:22 AM CST Steve Kerr says Warriors' psyche isn't damaged https://t.co/ZJLcQRkvaJ
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 25 2016 08:40:13 PM CST Thunder's buy-in to Billy Donovan is paying off https://t.co/Ts3C0mge5A
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 25 2016 06:42:08 PM CST Warriors will have to make history to rally vs. Thunder https://t.co/sNeHfhVjdG
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 25 2016 03:51:43 PM CST Thunder scoring best of both worlds vs. Warriors https://t.co/xoDWklI5bC
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 25 2016 10:10:50 AM CST Thunder blowouts have Warriors frustrated https://t.co/YzPCc33i7Z
Berry Tramel Wed, May. 25 2016 12:44:48 AM CST Thunder exacts the ultimate revenge on Draymond Green https://t.co/yvz6MXQqgf
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 24 2016 07:59:47 PM CST Is this 2-1 deficit different for the Warriors? https://t.co/CVEY6d5BqL
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 24 2016 10:48:27 AM CST Power Lunch: Chat with columnist Berry Tramel https://t.co/pYDIpNAunU
Berry Tramel Tue, May. 24 2016 08:51:43 AM CST Steven Adams accustomed to low blows: He played rugby https://t.co/teRMGvRzpM
Berry Tramel Mon, May. 23 2016 09:09:27 PM CST HITTING WHERE IT HURTS: Low blows have become more prevalent in the NBA https://t.co/odx2cfbNQ4

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