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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

No matter if this series goes four games or seven, it’s going to be contentious. Paul and Westbrook will get under the skin of multiple opponents. Griffin will scrape with Perk or Serge Ibaka or Adams or maybe all three. Boos, and not a few, will rain down from Loud City.

That’s just the way it goes. Not anything anybody could do about it.

If it was up to the citizenry, Paul and the Hornets never would have left. We’re the luckiest fan base this side of San Antone. An NBA franchise fell in our lap, just as a cool rookie point guard fell in its lap. But like good Okie Garth Brooks wrote, sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers. Oklahoma loved CP3 and the Hornets, but nothing like it loves Durant and the Thunder.

If it was up to the citizenry, Griffin would have landed in OKC in the 2009 lottery. The Thunder settled for third pick that year and took James Harden, a wondrous selection that brought glory and angst. But add Griffin to a lineup of Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka. Are you kidding me? Who knows how it would have turned out. If you’re looking for a way to kill the lunch hour today, start a debate on whether Griffin would still be with Big Blue had the Thunder hit the lotto.

So it’s not like Oklahomans ever cut the cord from those two. Not like they shirked Oklahoma. Griffin was drafted by the Clips. Paul went back to New Orleans. Nothing anybody could do about it.

And there’s nothing anybody can do about their return. They are wearing red. Advancing to the West finals means more than some sentimental homecoming. They are trying to take the Thunder’s lunch money. And when this series is over, they are not going to be well-loved in their old haunt of OKC.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at . He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

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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