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Jenni Carlson: OKC has never seen a sports day like today

by Jenni Carlson Modified: April 22, 2010 at 8:58 am •  Published: April 22, 2010

Not too long ago, the subject of our busy sports calendar came up in discussion with a friend of mine.

The Thunder was getting ready for the NBA Playoffs. A bunch of local players were turning heads leading up to the NFL Draft. And 20,000-plus runners were preparing to come to town for the 10th annual Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.

My buddy who has worked at newspapers around the country chuckled.

"Sounds like a Tuesday in Miami,” she said.

Things like this might happen every day in Miami and New York and Los Angeles, but they don’t in Oklahoma City.

Until today.

Mark it down, Oklahoma City. We’ve never had a day quite like April 22, 2010.

Shortly after 6:30 p.m. Oklahoma time, we will lay claim to the top pick in the NFL Draft. Oklahoma City native Sam Bradford is expected to be the first player taken in the draft by the St. Louis Rams. If that weren’t enough, fellow Oklahoma City product Gerald McCoy might follow right behind at No. 2.

Then a couple hours later, the Thunder and the Lakers will be front and center at the Ford Center. Our fair city will be making its NBA Playoff debut with Game 3 of the Western Conference series.

Not a bad evening, huh?

Oklahoma City has never seen anything quite like it. Truth is, if either event happened without the other, it would still make this one of the biggest days in the city’s history.

In a football-crazy state like this, having two top picks in the NFL Draft is a major story. With Bradford and McCoy, it’s even bigger. They have been ballyhooed since their high school days, Bradford at Putnam City North and McCoy at Southeast, and when they went to Oklahoma, neither the lanky quarterback nor the mammoth defensive tackle disappointed.

They have been great players, solid students and good guys.

Add in the fact that this draft is dotted with other players who have connections to our state, and that makes it even bigger. OSU left tackle Russell Okung is expected to be taken among the top five picks. OU left tackle Trent Williams could land in the top five, too, but is expected to fall no lower than the top 10.

Throw into the mix projected first-round picks OSU receiver Dez Bryant and OU tight end Jermaine Gresham, and it makes for a draft that is unlike any other in our state’s history.

But wait, there’s more.

The Lakers are coming to town for a playoff game.

To anyone who’s lived in Oklahoma City any longer than five years, the idea that the city has an NBA franchise is still a little unbelievable.

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by Jenni Carlson
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...
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