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Some thoughts from Thunder Media Day 2017

The Oklahoma City Thunder held their annual media day on Monday, Sept. 25 and it was business as usual for the players as this is the 10th season of doing this and with so many veterans on the team this season, it’s nothing new to them. I started this as a five thoughts type of deal and just rambled. 1,600 words later, here you go:

Kanter will be missed

Kanter was a lively guy while in Oklahoma City. He talked about his love constantly of the city and the citizens of this great state. With him being traded only 48 hours earlier, it was a given his name would be brought up in what he means to people.

Russell Westbrook probably said it best for everyone:

Kanter is an amazing guy and it was great to have him here. He always brought the flavor to the locker room.

-Westbrook

Of course Steven Adams had to be asked as a fellow ‘Stache Bro:

Locker room relationships are different than any other. I will certainly miss him on the court.

-Steven Adams

Melo seemed happy, relieved

Why Carmelo Anthony said there was no bad feelings towards those in New York. His chapter is done. The man is moved on. He wore his hoodie with bravado and explained how it started. He made jokes when someone implied maybe he could come off the bench. Oklahoma City is getting a talker. This 10-time NBA All-Star has real thought into what he says. Even when he’s probably trolling. The man gave long-winded answers, but they weren’t talking in circles. He doesn’t want many things taken out of context. That was obvious, despite some things via social media being done so.

I didn’t come here to be a rebounder. I came here to do what I do best and I am excited to be here.

-Melo

However, Melo smiled. He cracked jokes. The man is ready to start a new act in his play of life. He seems to really still love to play the game of basketball.

When many think of what is going to cause any rifts between this trio, Melo shot down any idea of him trying to take Russell Westbrook’s star.

I’m not coming here to take any spotlight

-Melo

No one asked Russ about being a father

You know, this is partially my fault. I didn’t. I should have. I did not think about it until afterwards. Oklahoma City’s newest MVP became a father this summer, little baby Noah came into this world dressed to the nines. Westbrook mentioned becoming a father when asked about whether or not he’s going to sign a contract before the Oct. 16 deadline.

It’s been a long summer. Had a baby, been working on a little father hood.

-Russell Westbrook.

We all asked about playing with Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. However, we didn’t ask how being a father was. I’m sure he feels a little let down, a little used. For us as journalists, we have to appeal to the people side of these players.

We’ve seen his snap chat. We understand how important Noah is to him. I let him and everyone down by not asking about it.

OK3 are definitely close bros

We knew they were friends but watching them joke with one another and having a blast during the photo portion of the media day. They were joking, giving each other a hard time and just seemed to be enjoying being on the same team. It’s been awhile since all three had real help and I think they’re finally happy they’re getting it.

Players answers to protests questions

Billy Donovan started it out by saying he respects the flag and doesn’t want to offend anyone. Sam Presti shot off saying he supports the player’s right to protest peacefully. While it’s such a generic answer, which is what the Thunder want, it doesn’t really give us any insight.

Westbrook started out the player’s portion of the answering of the questions.

The things he’s saying is outrageous. It’s uncalled for. It’s unnecessary. I don’t agree with anything he said.

-Westbrook

While Raymond Felton said he wasn’t political and others say they’ll decide as a team on what to do, Westbrook, the leader of this team, spoke up and from what I gathered, spoke really for the team on this topic.

Paul George, often stoic in demeanor, left his own opinion on the dais:

I thought what the NFL is doing right now is beautiful. They’re showing a lot of power, not only from the players but the front office making statements that they’re going to back their players up in whatever they do.

-George

Nick Collison gave a very thought provoking comment on it all:

“I think he has an opportunity to try to bring people together. Seems like every time he has a chance, he tries to tear people apart,” Collison said. “I don’t know if it’s for political gain or what, but I think part of being an American, and loving America and loving the country is loving your fellow American and other people that make up this country.

“Players are in an interesting position in this country in that they have a voice. They can try to use that for good to unite the country. I know that’s a tricky situation, a lot of people disagree with it. I just wish instead of saying it’s us against them or fighting the culture war that everyone seems to fight all the time, I just wish there would be more listening and trying to make it better and solve problems instead of just point out whose fault it is for problems.”

I’m nervous, I’ll come back

We gotta address the elephant in the room. The reporter who was so nervous he couldn’t talk to Russell Westbrook was one of our guys. The Thunder media room busted up laughing and so did Russ. The guy was one of ours. Unfortunately, in his first ever press conference, the guy choked and I hope he learns from the situation. He’s going to hopefully get better. No, it wasn’t Brady. It was Brady who said “we’ve all been there” and asked a follow up question.

In his defense, he hit Collison with a full question. So, there was a redeeming story on media day after all.

I kept forgetting who Isaiah Canaan and Rashawn Thomas was

I feel embarrassed, I’m supposed to know who all these players are. However, Canaan only signed on Saturday and I’ve barely seen a picture of Thomas. However, there was more than once when I saw them walk around and was like, “Who’s man is this?”

Someone buy Terrance Ferguson a sandwich

This man must not have eaten while in Australia. The Tulsa native looked like he was held together by twigs and twine. The Thunder say he’s 185 lbs. I’d like to see him step on the scale. He looks closer to 170. When the Thunder finally get him into the weight room.

Sam Presti praises ownership for this team

A surprising turn of events happened even before the start of the day, Presti took the dais and fielded questions about the acquisition of Carmelo Anthony. He was openly praising Clay Bennett and Co. on their patience (and money) with this roster. As of right now, the roster is at $132 million for the season, approximately $7 million over the tax line. With their tax and their salary cap, their money situation is about $160 million.

Championship talk is back

Paul George said on Monday afternoon this felt like a championship team. It has the same feel. You have over 20 all-star appearances, multiple gold medals and three 20-point scorers all on one team, that’s the feeling you get. This team is going to be very special when May rolls around.

Westbrook is a man who often keeps it simple:

We have one goal: to win a championship

-Westbrook

Hoodie Melo is in Bricktown for the foreseeable future

One of the best moments of media day was watching Carmelo Anthony walk in front of me wearing that hoodie under his jersey. He didn’t have to do it, but he did it. He cracked jokes about not coming off the bench and really talked about who he was as a person, player.

While wearing the hoodie, Berry Tramel of the Oklahoman, asked Melo about the feeling everyone had about him never wanting to play for a small market team because, you know it’s small. Melo interrupted him an said this:

They said that because they don’t know me.

Eye opening. It’s true, I searched the internet and unknown anywhere in the google-sphere, I cannot find Melo saying that.

If you’re curious where the hoodie Melo came from, this is what Anthony had to say:

“It started with a beanie, like I was just in the gym and I didn’t have a haircut, and I was like, ‘I’m just gonna go and throw a hat on. I wanted to sweat, and I just started working back out in the summer,” he explained. “From there, it went to a hoodie and it got out, and the phenomenon started.

“For me, it was just about showing a different focus that I have, a different motivation, and just locking in to what I have to do. And locking myself into the gym, and locking myself into focusing in on my body. Because I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was so much going on that was surrounding me that I just wanted to find a way that I can just focus in, and that’s when Hoodie Melo was created.”

I’ll have to point out Paul George isn’t a fan of the hoodie. He yelled into his presser and said “take that dumb ass hoodie off!”

Nick Collison still is Mr. Thunder

The water flowed through the bottles of Disani and other brands through media day as players chugged under the heat lamps that are often shining lights for video cameras.

It’s probably my last year

– Collison

Nick Collison said He wasn’t expecting any farewell tours or anything. He just wants to go out and play basketball for another year.

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