In case you didn’t hear the news, Paul George announced, last night, that he is “here to stay” with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
See for yourself.
OKC Twitter exploded when the announcement was made. Fans were gushing in happiness. All of the tweets, from OKC fans, commended George for his, seemingly historic, decision. None of the tweets predicted the Thunder to go to The Finals. None of the tweets predicted the Thunder to make it deep into the playoffs. None of the tweets predicted the Thunder to have a record of x-y.
That made clear, to me, that Oklahomans were validated by George’s choice to stay in OKC. The pride that Oklahomans have for their state outweighed their concern of the Thunder’s record.
For years, Oklahomans have had it shoved down their throats how, perceivably, bad of a state this is. It started in 1991, when United Airlines opened a bidding war for select cities to house a new plant that would create hundreds of jobs. The final two were Oklahoma City, and believe it or not, Indianapolis (the last home of George). Indy got the nod because United didn’t think that their employees would want to live in Oklahoma City. Indy has since returned the favor. Many Oklahomans felt as if they were the laughing stock of America. Kevin Durant’s departure didn’t help our cause to prove Oklahoma worthy. After the United Airlines blessing in disguise, Mayor Norick, Humphreys and Cornett came along and changed the face of Oklahoma City. None of those mayors changed OKC to a tour attraction, rather, they changed it to a place that generations of Oklahomans would want to stay in.
Exactly 361 days ago, Russell Westbrook announced that he would be signing a long term extension with the Thunder. That’s when things started on the upswing, but it’s not that hard to sign with the franchise that bears your face.
Last night, at 11:01 p.m., Oklahomans had their moment. George, who grew up in the LA area, and “dreamed” of one day being a Los Angeles Laker, didn’t even entertain a meeting with Magic Johnson. When George signed with the Thunder, OKC fans almost immediately resigned to the fact that his stay would be for just one year. But, George, Westbrook and Presti had other plans.
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that George has agreed to a 4 year, $137M contract, with a player option in that fourth year.
Even if PG were to sign with the Thunder, a four year contract was not even in the question. By not entertaining the Lakers, and agreeing to a, relatively, long term contract, George reaffirmed his commitment to Oklahoma City.
Even better, we can only assume that George decided to stay based on the culture of the Oklahoma City Thunder, becasue they made no concrete changes to make sure last season’s debacle won’t happen again. I sound like broken record, but, Oklahoma had its moment last night. Never before, would anyone even dream of a professional athlete choosing OKC over the glitz and glam of LA. Oklahoma City is a big league city that is here to stay.
Rodger and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! has come full circle. Oklahoma is, once again, a brand new state, that’s gonna treat you great.