Who will replace Grant Long as the Thunder TV analyst alongside play-by-play man Brian Davis? Here’s our list of contenders, longshots, and some outside of the box names for your entertainment:
Background: Lawton native, All-American at OU and NBA first-round draft pick. Played a decade of NBA ball, winning three championship with the Chicago Bulls in the early 1990s. Got into broadcasting in 2006, and has worked as the lead color commentator for the Bulls since 2008, earning popularity with a Gus Johnson-esque arsenal of catch phrases.
Background: Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer with broadcast experience on ESPN, ABC, FOX and NBC. Currently pre- and post-game TV analyst for Thunder LIVE on Fox Sports, as well as assistant general manager for D-League Texas Legends.
Background: Former Oklahoma State (1996-2000) and Oklahoma City Thunder (2008-2009) player. Mason has roots with the Thunder dating back to his days as a first-round pick of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2000. Spent two seasons in OKC with New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets, who were displaced following Hurricane Katrina. Retired since 2009, has delved into art career.
Background: Served in variety of radio and television analyst roles for the Charlotte/New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans for more than two decades before being let go in April. Voice of the Hornets during team’s temporary move to Oklahoma City in 2005. Played college basketball at Gardner-Webb University, and has collegiate and high school coaching experience.
Background: Tulsa Washington alumnus spent part of college career at OU before earning All-American honors at Notre Dame. Pro career spans 11 years from NBA to overseas. Trying his hand in sports talk in Tulsa. Fits Thunder bill of former player as color commentator.
Background: Former University of Texas guard and 10-year NBA veteran. Knows Thunder well after multiple stints with the team (2010-12, 2013-14). Last played for Guangdong Southern Tigers of China in 2013-14 following 10-day contract with Thunder.
Background: Unabashed Sooners supporter has decades of behind-the-mic experience from World Wrestling Entertainment. WWE Hall of Famer has gotten back into commentary with boxing work for Fox Sports 1.
Background: Dallas native and TCU All-American played for nine teams in 18 NBA seasons. Appeared in 42 games for Seattle SuperSonics in 2007-08 before midseason trade to San Antonio Spurs. Deal that sent Thomas from Phoenix to Seattle in 2007 included a 2008 first-rounder, which turned into Serge Ibaka.
OUTSIDE THE BOX/FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT
Background: Healdton native and Sooners women’s basketball coach has roots in Oklahoma and decades of basketball knowledge. Played collegiately at Oklahoma Christian. Guided OU to 15 NCAA Tournament and three Final Four appearances in 18 seasons. Polished in front of the camera and on the radio.
Background: Oklahoma City mayor has a long resume of TV experience and started his career in sports journalism. Played a key role in bringing the Thunder to Oklahoma City. 2014 Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame inductee.
Ashley and Courtney Paris
Background: Former Sooner stars have long professed their desire to get into sports journalism and basketball commentary. Courtney currently suits up for the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock, and both sisters still reside in Oklahoma.
Background: Oklahoma sports radio personality on The Sports Animal 98.1 deemed “The Ultimate.” Former Oklahoma State baseball and football player. Experience as color analyst with MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks.
By Erik Horne