As the Blake Griffin punching (allegedly) an LA Clippers staffer unfolded Tuesday, I couldn’t help think to ask a simple question.
Has there ever been an ex-Sooner who was such a great, dominant player who has ever been treated in such a lukewarm fashion by the OU can fan base?
I can’t think of one. Strange.
Griffin dominated college basketball when he was in Norman. He was Oklahoma raised. Son of a prominent state high school coach. Monstrous dunks. A definite fan favorite at OU.
Still, rarely touted as a former Sooner standout by the vast majority of Oklahoma sports fans so far as I can tell.
Certainly, not like a Wayman Tisdale, or other Sooner football heroes. Not even in the same ballpark.
I get some of the reasons.
As a player on the Clippers, Griffin is immediately identified as a member of the NBA Society of Floppers. A well deserved distinction. Griffin is one of the finest, and most frequent actors in the league, no doubt.
Blake’s battles with Serge Ibaka have not endeared him to Thunder fans.
However, those same fans were at one time praying that the Thunder would win the draft lottery and make Griffin their number one pick. They dreamed of seeing him in an OKC uniform.
Now, he’s one of the team’s mortal enemies. Not Patrick Beverley level, but close.
Strange how pro sports can change the way even the most ardent local fans can perceive a former state sports hero.
Griffin is a tremendous player, with a great personality that shines though in his great TV commercials. He’s money.
Sure, OU has honored him with a jersey ceremony. Fans still cheered.
Yet, Griffin seems strangely distanced from the OU family in many ways. Like that estranged relative that everybody still loves, but keeps at arm’s length.
As long as Griffin stays a Clipper, keeps flopping, and plays big games against the Thunder, I suspect the odd dynamic won’t change.
Unless he ever winds up in OKC, or retires, Thunder fans, especially, will consider him chicken $#&$ before he turns into chicken something else.
Hopefully, time will bring Griffin back into the fold.
In the meantime, I suspect to see a lot more funny Griffin social media memes and disparaging comments from local NBA fans.
That’s just the way sports works.