The Oklahoma City Thunderâ€™s Fairy-Tale Rise
Joyce Park stashed this in The Sporting Life
Quirky article about the culture of Oklahoma City and why the Thunder seem to fit so perfectly there.
Great article! Thanks for sharing.
Best opening I've read in a long time...
N.B.A. scoring champions are, as a rule, weirdos and reprobates and in some cases diagnosable sociopaths. Something about dominating your opponent, publicly, more or less every day of your life, in the most visible aspect of your sport, tends to either warp your spirit or to be possible only to those whose spirits are already warped. Michael Jordan, when he wasnâ€™t busy scoring, was busy punching a teammate in the face and gambling away small fortunes. Allen Iverson, in his spare time, recorded an aesthetically and morally terrible rap album and gave an iconic speech denigrating the very notion of practice. Kobe Bryant is and shall forever be Kobe Bryant. Wilt, Shaq, Pistol Pete, Dominique, McGrady, McAdoo, Rick Barry â€” itâ€™s a near-solid roster of dysfunction: sadists, narcissists, malcontents, knuckleheads, misanthropes, womanizers, addicts and villains. While itâ€™s true that plain old N.B.A. superstars do occasionally manage to be model citizens (cf. Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Steve Nash), there is something irredeemable about a scoring champion.
Kevin Durant, the star of the Oklahoma City Thunder, is the youngest scoring champion in N.B.A. history. At 24, he has led the league in scoring for three consecutive seasons, and all signs point to him keeping that up for the foreseeable future. It follows, then, that Durant should also be a prodigy of a head case. He should have been arrested for reckless driving at around age 9, broken his hand in a strip-club brawl at age 12 and accidentally shot his chauffeur no later than age 15...
The person clearly cherry picked their scoring champions.Â
They could have been describing the average american male.
Great opening, but obviously biased and sensational. Â
This article was worth re-reading:
LeBron and Durant are, conveniently for storytelling purposes, opposites. LeBron looks like something out of a Marvel comic: a sentient pile of muscles. Durant looks like something from a Pixar movie â€” a humanoid praying mantis. He is 6 feet 9 inches tall and almost disturbingly skinny, with disproportionately long arms. Sportswriters, struggling to describe him, have compared him to capellini and a pterodactyl. His body looks almost like an engineering mistake, and early in his career it seemed as if it might actually be one: before the 2007 draft, there was a minor kerfuffle when it was discovered that Durant couldnâ€™t bench-press 185 pounds, the standard predraft litmus test, even a single time. (The next pick in the draft, Al Horford, lifted it 20 times.) LeBron entered the league as a teenager and promptly knocked around all of the grown men who tried to guard him. As a 19-year-old rookie, Durant drifted around, shooting jumpers and trying to avoid contact, and still spent much of his time picking himself up off the floor. Although he won Rookie of the Year, he wasnâ€™t particularly efficient in doing so, and his team was horrible.