Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett might be unbeatable right now. His political prowess gave the Hornets temporary shelter and also helped pave the way for the Thunder's relocation. It's hard to imagine anyone unseating Mayor Mick in an election, except maybe Desmond Mason. Playfully asked if he could beat Mason in a mayoral race, Cornett paused several seconds before answering, "If I did beat him, it'd be the only thing in which I could beat Desmond.” To help assure his victory, Cornett said he might question Mason's eligibility. "My only hope is that Desmond hasn't been a resident long enough,” Cornett deadpanned. Mason is approaching his ninth NBA season and has become a part-time model when it comes to wearing uniforms. Every stop Mason has made, he has served as an unofficial member of that city's Chamber of Commerce — be it in Seattle, Milwaukee (twice) or Oklahoma City (twice). The charismatic Mason has embraced every situation, good and bad. The Seattle SuperSonics won 20 measly games last season, they've just moved 2,000 miles away, their roster qualifies for the next edition of Trivial Pursuit, and yet Mason insists he's living the dream coming back to Oklahoma. "You couldn't have dreamt this one up,” Mason said, smiling. Though the Thunder front office offered relocation assistance to everyone involved, players are seeking the wisdom of Mason, a former Oklahoma State standout and fan favorite. "All I have to do is show them where the good restaurants are, where to go and what to do to have fun,” Mason said. "I tell them, ‘Just go eat barbecue and steaks. That's what I do.' ” Mason said he recommends Ranch Steakhouse, Earl's Rib Palace, Ted's Cafe Escondido and Mickey Mantle Steakhouse. "Want me to keep going? I've got some more,” Mason said, playfully adding Whataburger, Sonic and Braum's. "Oh, and Hideaway (pizza). Always Hideaway,” Mason said. In terms of sheer beauty, Seattle is a tough act to follow — for any city. Is it hard to sell Oklahoma to teammates? "To some people, but I don't care,” Mason said. "I'm going to brag about Oklahoma anyway. I love being back in a community that embraced me. It's fun.” Mason wraps both arms around everything in the state of Oklahoma, except the color crimson and anything OU. (Mason said there are only two reasons he would ever venture to Norman — a Bedlam game and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts.) "It's something I want to do,” Mason said of being head of the Oklahoma welcoming committee. "I think the players are seeing the excitement in the fans with the ticket sales and things like that. I think they know now it's going to be a very fun year.” John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 9-11 a.m. on New JOX 930 (AM).
Desmond Mason talks with reporters during the Oklahoma City Thunder's media day Monday. By nate billings, the oklahoman