Now you've gone and done it, Charles Barkley.
I mean, it was bound to happen eventually. With everything you have to say about Oklahoma City and the Thunder, we figured there'd be a point some day where we'd actually agree with you.
So, what pushed us over the top?
Your proclamation about your impending trip to Oklahoma City for the Western Conference Finals.
“Can't wait!” you said the other night.
We couldn't agree more.
Your arrival, Sir Charles, is like a cherry on top of this basketball decadence we're about to enjoy in Oklahoma City. Making it back to the Western Conference Finals is the sweetest part of the deal, of course, but there are more layers to all of this. Playing the storied and streaking Spurs. Witnessing the series that many are saying will determine the NBA champion. Being the focus of the basketball world.
Welcoming the fun-time bunch from TNT is just part of the grandeur.
And since you promised to come to Oklahoma City six years ago — six years, Charles! — it's good to see TNT finally making an honest man out of you.
Now, Charles, there are some people here who don't understand why anyone cares that you're coming to town. They think you're a blowhard. They would just as soon eat the red carpet as roll it out for you.
But here's the thing — deep down, all of us want you to like us.
Well, for one, you aren't a knucklehead. You may be obnoxious, but you aren't stupid. You may be a jokester, but you aren't a fool.
You have been around a lot of years and seen a lot of things. You know this game of basketball. And while you say things in a way that sends us into a blind rage sometimes, there's a nugget of truth in pretty much everything you espouse.
I mean, that “vast wasteland” bit a few years back hit a nerve around here, but there are parts of the state that are pretty darn vast. So, that much was true.
The wasteland part, well, we're going to see what we can do to prove you wrong there, Chuck.
OKC is ready to show you what we've got.
For starters, you have to see the Oklahoma City Memorial. It is an amazing place, humbling yet empowering. There's a reason that the Thunder takes every employee, players included, for a visit.
While you're downtown, you might want to check out our newest landmark. The Devon tower commands a view like no other, and while most folks can't walk in and get a tour, I'm guessing you might be able to, Charles.
Then, it's off to Bricktown. Jump on one of the boats that float up and down the canal, or hop on one of the ferries that cruise the Oklahoma River.
Heck, you could even ride the ferry to Stockyard City.
Those cowboy boots you said you needed for your trip to Oklahoma City? You could definitely find some there.
I'm no cowboy boot aficionado, but I know that Tener's is the place the Jim Thorpe Award winners get their boots every year.
And once you've got those boots, you can mosey on over to Cattlemen's Steakhouse. Oklahoma City folks love to debate where you can get the best steak — Mahogany, Mickey Mantle's and Red Prime are popular picks — but at none of those places can you hear your meal moo.
You can at Cattlemen's.
Of course, everyone knows that you're watching your weight these days, Charles, so we could offer some low-calorie options. Our mayor, Mick Cornett, would be in favor of that since he's been encouraging the entire city to get in shape.
But really, this is a meat-and-potatoes kind of place. And you know what they say — when in Oklahoma City ...
That mean's burgers at Nic's or Johnnie's or Irma's or S&B, barbecue at Leo's or Earl's or fried chicken at Eischen's.
You're just going to have to hit the treadmill a little longer, Charles.
Oklahoma City is a great place, something you're going to have a chance to witness for yourself. And while all the sites and the sounds will be great, the best thing will be the people. They will bowl you over with their hospitality, warmth and friendliness.
I mean, that's really why we got so up in arms about the not-so-nice things you said in the past. Talking bad about Oklahoma City means talking bad about its people.
So, Charles, when you said you couldn't wait to get here, you didn't just say something we could agree with. You said something nice.
I mean, it was bound to happen eventually.