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What's up, Chuck? Oklahoma City is still waiting for Charles Barkley's promised visit

TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley once called Oklahoma a “vast wasteland.” Then Oklahoma City folks invited Barkley to visit and see for himself. Barkley accepted. So why are we still waiting, Chuck?
by Jenni Carlson Modified: January 12, 2011 at 7:55 pm •  Published: January 12, 2011

But almost as quickly, Oklahomans were doing what they do best — being nice. Olive branches were waved, and invitations were extended.

Come to Oklahoma, Sir Charles. See our city for yourself. Stroll around Bricktown. See the Memorial. Go to a game at the Ford Center.

And you agreed to visit. NEWS 9 anchor Kelly Ogle made the official pitch at the All-Star Game in Houston. He'd been critical of you in one of his “My Two Cents” commentaries, but he brought a gift basket and an invitation to come to Oklahoma.

“I'm going to come there,” you said at the time. “I've got to look at the schedule, see when (the Hornets) are there for a weekend.”

Did we mention it's been five years since then?

I mean, we were willing to give you a pass back then. Right at the end of the season, you were elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame, and with that came a lot of responsibilities. Press conferences. Appearances.

But a TNT spokesman told us then that you planned to visit early the next season.

Still waiting.

We know that you're aware we have an NBA team of our own now, too. You were talking about it less than a week ago.

“(The Thunder) had success (last season), and when you have success, you assume you've made it,” you said during halftime of TNT broadcast. “What people don't understand is that once you're successful, it gets harder. From a talent standpoint, they are one of the best teams in the league, but they haven't taken that next step.

“They are living on reputation.”

You know about having a reputation, don't you, Chuck? People always say that you're as much a comedian as a commentator, that you're more rabble rouser than deep thinker. But you never pull punches, never shy away from speaking your mind.

You're always honest.

So, I know you'll appreciate this truth — you said you'd come to Oklahoma City five years ago and you still haven't.

You promised.

We're waiting.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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