Jenni Carlson
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.



Top Stories


  • OKC Thunder: Russell Westbrook makes a difference

    By Jenni Carlson | Published: Sun, Apr 20, 2014

    Thunder point guard missed last year’s series with Memphis. His presence helped the Thunder win Game 1 of this year’s showdown with the Grizzlies.

  • NBA Playoffs: Oklahoma City Thunder wins Game 1 against Grizzlies

    BY JENNI CARLSON, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    A dominating first half by the Thunder was turned on its head Saturday night. A blowout turned into slugfest, and the hometown team found itself hanging on for dear life in the opening game of this Western Conference playoff series. Oklahoma City 100, Memphis 86.

  • NBA Playoffs LIVE: Thunder vs. Grizzlies

    staff reports | Updated: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies tip off in Game 1 of their Western Conference playoff series tonight at 8:30 p.m. Follow our coverage from pregame to postgame with the NewsOK staff and more

  • Oklahoma City Thunder: Kiss Cam couple's place in Thunder fans' hearts is sealed with a kiss

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Apr 19, 2014

    As the NBA Playoffs begin, Oklahoma City Thunder fans are hoping to spend many nights together over the coming weeks at The Peake. Thunder fans Dale and Lois Higginns are part of the charm.

  • NBA Playoffs: How Serge Ibaka spent his offseason getting ready for the Grizzlies' Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    Marc Gasol definitely got the better of that matchup during the playoffs last season. While he and Randolph switched off defensively on Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins, the Memphis bigs often helped each other and doubled up when Ibaka had the ball.

  • NBA Playoffs: Serge Ibaka could be one of the Spain national team's big men of the future

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    After the Olympic Games, Serge Ibaka expressed frustration about his role on the team. But if he wants more playing time, that might well take care of itself by the next Olympics. Pau Gasol is 33 and has battled injury in recent years. Many believe he will retire before the 2016 Games.

  • NBA Playoffs: Postseason features diverse group of athletes

    BY JENNI CARLSON | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    A look at the international players in the playoffs.

  • Thunder vs. Grizzlies: Memphis coach Dave Joerger thinks Loud City is too loud

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    Dave Joerger turned toward the scorer’s table and asked nicely for the music to be turned down. The next time he asked wasn’t so nice. The first time Memphis came to town to play the Thunder this season, the first-year head coach thought the in-arena music was too loud and he let game operations staffers know it. There was a bit of begging. There was a smidgen of colorful verbiage. The man from the House of Blues thinks the music in Loud City is too loud. Oh, the irony. But when the Grizzlies returned to town for another regular season game, Joerger didn’t backtrack on his belief that they need to take it down a notch or six.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with Jenni Carlson

    staff reports | Published: Fri, Apr 18, 2014

    Join Jenni Carlson on the Power Lunch chat at 11 a.m., where she'll be taking your questions on the Thunder vs. Grizzlies and more.

  • OKC Thunder: Oklahoma writers discuss upcoming NBA playoffs

    Published: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    Four questions for four writers, previewing the upcoming NBA playoffs with a league-wide scope: 1. What 1-2 seed is most likely to get upset before the Conference Finals? Darnell Mayberry (beat writer) - Oklahoma City. The Thunder has by far the toughest road to the conference finals, with a wrestling match out of the gate against Memphis and a shootout series on deck with either the Clippers or Warriors. San Antonio should execute the Mavs in the first round and easily out-savvy either Houston or Portland in the second round. And the East isn't even in the discussion. Jenni Carlson (columnist) - San Antonio. The reason: old legs. I think way more highly of the Spurs and the Thunder than I do of the Pacers and the Heat,

  • NBA Playoff Roundtable: How wary should the Thunder be of an early upset?

    Anthony Slater | Updated: Thu, Apr 17, 2014

    Four questions for four writers, previewing the upcoming NBA playoffs with a league-wide scope: 1.

  • Whitney Wofford wanted to reach out and touch someone

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Tue, Apr 15, 2014

    Wofford wasn’t the most recognizable athlete at Sooners for N7, an event done recently by OU athletes to promote healthy, active lifestyles to Native American kids. Trevor Knight was there. So were Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins. Everyone knows who they are and what they do.

  • Another year in OSU orange would be good for Le'Bryan Nash

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Mon, Apr 14, 2014

    He was widely expected to be a one-and-done player. He’d spend a year in orange, star for the Cowboys, then bolt for the NBA.

  • Oklahoma football: Saturday wasn't Trevor Knight's best day, but he and the Sooners will be fine

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Apr 12, 2014

    For starters, Trevor Knight was playing with a ton of unproven playmakers Saturday. Receiver extraordinaire Sterling Shepard was sidelined by injury. Ditto for Durron Neal, the only other returning pass catcher who had more than a hundred yards last season.

  • Oklahoma football: Why Zack Sanchez is a symbol of the Sooners' defense

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Fri, Apr 11, 2014

    Frankly, as the Sooners conclude spring football on Saturday and point toward the fall, no one better embodies the big-play potential of this defense.

  • Father Time might find it tough catching Adrian Peterson

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Wed, Apr 9, 2014

    Peterson has suffered a litany of injuries as a college and NFL running back. But an incredible work ethic keeps the former Sooner churning out yards for the Vikings.

  • Minnesota Vikings RB and former Oklahoma football star Adrian Peterson says college players deserve to be paid

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Wed, Apr 9, 2014

    Former Oklahoma superstar and current Minnesota Vikings tailback Adrian Peterson did a media conference call Wednesday afternoon that touched on lots of subjects. One of them was the debate raging over whether college football players should be paid.

  • Power Lunch: Chat with Jenni Carlson

    staff reports | Published: Tue, Apr 8, 2014

    Columnist Jenni Carlson will be on the Power Lunch chat at 11 a.m., answering your questions on everything from the NCAA basketball tournament to the Thunder playoff picture. Get you questions in here.

  • Cowboy fans who snubbed Orange Blitz missed a good show

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Updated: Mon, Apr 7, 2014

    The Cowboys offered plenty of action with the new format — but only 2,500 was there to see it.

  • Oklahoma football: A look inside Cody Thomas' two-sport spring

    By Jenni Carlson, Staff Writer | Published: Sat, Apr 5, 2014

    While Cody Thomas is competing for OU’s backup quarterback job, he’s also trying to fight his way into the outfield rotation for Pete Hughes’ OU baseball team.




Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 11:01:01 PM CST And now, RW at the scorer's table.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:54:51 PM CST Apparently the RW jersey tuck meant nothing. Back to the end of the bench.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:54:31 PM CST Tony Allen reminds me a little of a 9-year-old kid. And I mean that in a nice way. Lives and dies with every call, play, etc.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:53:23 PM CST @iammattcraig Nope. Unless there's something official from the team, we won't know any more until after the game.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:52:36 PM CST Westbrook tucking in his jersey. Is he coming back in? We'll see.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:49:24 PM CST Nick Collison is going to be one big scab once this season is over.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:44:44 PM CST RT @anthonyVslater: Memphis in the first half: 12-of-48 shooting, 34 points. Memphis in the third quarter: 14-of-24, 31 points.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:43:36 PM CST To me, giving up 31 is the bigger problem. Not getting stops means not getting out and running. Pushing the tempo is key for OKC.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:42:26 PM CST RT @Michael_Cohen13: Dave Joerger did not make a substitution during that entire quarter. Everyone is spent. Bench needs to contribute here…
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:41:59 PM CST Which is worse: Thunder giving up 31 points in that quarter or scoring 13?
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:37:29 PM CST @rockethoops Gotta get defensive stops to get out and run. Stops are few and far between right now.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:35:51 PM CST The way Russ is playing, I have to wonder if he's hurt. Saw him clutch his stomach at one point, also his thigh.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:33:36 PM CST KD draws the foul. Great way to re-capture the shooting touch.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:33:09 PM CST The magic has gone from KD and RW. Shots not falling. And now Thunder not rebounding.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:26:23 PM CST Shot clock started when no one touched the ball. Collison looks at scorer's table, yells, "C'mon!"
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:21:48 PM CST Now a nine point game. Here we go.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:21:32 PM CST Grizz start the second half on a 17-4 run. Thunder sloppy, not getting in front of guys, turnovers.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:13:50 PM CST Grizz with a 6-0 run to start the half.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:13:30 PM CST Thunder with a less-than-sharp opening to the second half. Brooks with the quick TO.
Jenni Carlson Sat, Apr. 19 2014 10:12:32 PM CST I'm sure Prince is legit sick, but if guarding KD was my assignment, it would probably make me sick to my stomach.