Once hometown heroes, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have become enemies of the state

Paul is coming back through town. Griffin is coming home. Sounds nice. Sounds quaint. Sounds like a slice of Americana. Sounds can be deceiving.
by Berry Tramel Published: May 4, 2014

Chris Paul is coming back through town. Blake Griffin is coming home. Sounds nice. Sounds quaint. Sounds like a slice of Americana.

Sounds can be deceiving.

This is not going to be pleasant. Not going to be nice. Our first NBA hero and our greatest homegrown hoopster might as well be wearing horns as they come to Oklahoma City. They are Clippers, and they are alley fighters, and they are enemies of the state.

The Thunder hosts the Clippers on Monday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals, and by the time this series is over, Paul and Griffin will be persona non grata. Unwelcome. Strangers in their own land.

That’s what playoff basketball produces. Familiarity feeds contempt. Night after night of rugged basketball will certainly bring familiarity. Think about it this way, Thunder fans. You’ve seen Marc Gasol and Tony Allen play more ballgames in the last two weeks than you’ve seen Trevor Knight or J.W. Walsh quarterback in their careers.

And you’re about to get more than your fill of Paul and Griffin. To know, know, know them is to loathe, loathe, loathe them.

CP3, a Hornet rookie in OKC when the world was young, and Griffin, OKC born and bred, plus an OU star to boot, are ballplayers of the highest order. Paul is considered the world’s best point guard, Griffin the greatest Oklahoma-produced basketball player ever.

They are the reason the Clippers were NBA relevant even before goofball owner Donald Sterling made headlines. Paul and Griffin have made the Clips title contenders.

They are exquisite athletes. They also are aggressive, which is a kind way of saying they are mean. Mean and edgy. They are agitator and instigator, as the Thunder broadcast crews are more than willing to remind you.

Which is OK, so long as you remember the truth. The Thunder isn’t countering with the Vienna Boys Choir. Oh, Kevin Durant probably could get admitted. But Kendrick Perkins and Russell Westbrook and Steven Adams? They’ve got a little mean themselves. Agitating and instigating are not averse to the Oklahoma plains.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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,...
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