First a confession: I have booed at a sporting event.
I once booed Howard Cosell at a Monday Night Football game for comments he made about Baltimore. It was the late 1970s and I was 12 years old.
I probably would have booed John Elway the first time he played in Baltimore — after forcing the Colts to trade him by vowing not to play there. But I was away at college in Oklahoma, and looking back who could blame him? The coach was a maniac named Frank Kush and the owner was a drunk.
Had the opportunity arisen, I would have booed Bob (The Drunk Owner) Irsay every day and twice on Sunday for moving the Colts. And I have, on a few occasions, hooted at an official’s call.
That said, booing is for losers. And if you booed Blake Griffin at the Oklahoma City Arena on Wednesday night, check yourself.
Here’s who you booed:
— An Oklahoma City kid who has done nothing to bring shame and everything to bring honor to himself, his family, his hometown and his alma mater.
— The son of school teachers, one who ranks among the finest leaders of young men in the history of high school sports in Oklahoma.
— The most exciting player in the NBA.
— The former consensus National Player of the Year at the University of Oklahoma.
— A McDonald’s High School All-American who could have gone to Duke and instead joined his brother at OU.
— A player any sane OKC fan laid awake at night dreaming about, praying Blake would wind up in a Thunder uniform the year a sorry OKC squad won 23 games and lost is way into a lottery ball windfall.
You booed this guy? For what? Being the best player on the court Wednesday night? (That’s right. I said it.) For dunking on Nick Collison? For staring at him afterward? (An aside. I realize staring can be a vice. My 6-year-old daughter gave it up for lent, promising to refrain from staring at a little boy in her school “even if he’s really cute.”)
Booing opposing players is silly to start with. Booing a hometown guy is an embarrassment.
One apologist I work with claims that Blake’s the enemy now, so the boos are fair game. And if that’s your opinion you’re entitled to it. Just make sure the other side of your mouth isn’t trying to tell me Oklahoma City is home to the best fans in the NBA.
I watched Wednesday’s game on TV, heard the boos and for a minute forgot it was in OKC. Maybe that’s what happened: Fans forgot where they’re from. They wouldn’t be the first.