Andrew Gilman

Oklahoma is the center of sports talk

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) during an NCAA college football game between TCU and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017. Oklahoma won 38-20. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Oklahoma is the center of sports talk

During the past few years, Oklahoma has been as vibrant a sports market as anywhere in the country.

We’ve had a Heisman Trophy winner (Baker Mayfield) and an MVP (Russell Westbrook). We’ve had the most-talked about player in college basketball (Trae Young) and the biggest story in the NBA, too (Kevin Durant leaving the Thunder).

But now the Oklahoma sports market is the center of speculation. So many storylines going on locally that everyone nationally has a strong opinion on.

And thanks to the calendar, we’ll have plenty of it the next 12 weeks. It’s going to be non-stop, incessant and, by the time we get to football season, it will be maddening.

If you got tired of the constant ESPN coverage of Trae Young, which is still going on today, thanks to “The Decision” story you can read here, just wait. Young’s decision, considered by most to be a no-brainer, will be scrutinized and picked over from now until the draft in June. The reason: Well, Oklahoma didn’t get better as the season went on. Young was handed the offense, handed all the adulation and congratulations when the Sooners rose to No. 4 in the country, so naturally he was blamed when it all came apart.

So, let’s get weird. The Trae Young talk won’t end. Is he Steph Curry? Is he good enough to be a lottery pick? We only have until June to figure it all out.

Luckily, we only have another month or so until we find out about Baker Mayfield. How much more talk can you take? The quarterback position, always a position which requires intense conversation, seems to be at an all-time high this year. Maybe it’s because we’ve watched Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. Maybe it’s a combination of that and Josh Rosen and Josh Allen and Sam Darnold and all the trades and combines and everything in between. Maybe. Either way, the opinions on Mayfield haven’t diminished. Everyone has one.

Everyone has one on the Thunder, too. On Russell Westbrook, on whether Paul George will come back and whether Carmelo Anthony has made the team better. Hard to know, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t talking about it.

And that’s the point.

Oklahoma City has not just become a “Big League City,” it’s become one of the epicenters of sports talk. We’ve had two NBA MVPs, a Heisman winner and the nation’s leading scorer in NCAA hoops. That’s fortunate. We’ve had great football teams and compelling NCAA basketball stories. That’s pretty great, too.

Meanwhile, the Thunder, Oklahoma football, Oklahoma State football and the two state basketball schools have all won a lot more than they have lost. That’s phenomenal.

So, while the sports rumors, discussions and opinions circulate around our state, take it in. It’s always a good thing to be interesting, and this state’s sports teams and personalities are certainly that.





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