Expectations were not high for the Thunder last year, and people were wondering if a 34 year
old Chris Paul, who was thought of as untradeable due to his contract, would ever play
meaningful basketball again.
Now here he is in the NBA Finals.
Chris Paul’s tie to Oklahoma City goes far beyond just his one season with the Thunder. The
New Orleans Hornets relocated to Oklahoma City for two seasons following Hurricane Katrina.
Those two seasons were also the first two Paul had in the NBA. Seeing how much Oklahoma
City enjoyed having its own professional basketball team, it’s no surprise that two years later the
Seattle Supersonics would relocate and become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Chris Paul is
directly connected to the founding of the Thunder, and with his career at a crossroads after a
disappointing end to his tenure with the Rockets, it was very symbolic for Paul to return to
Oklahoma City in 2019.
With Paul traded to the imploding Thunder, and having 120 million dollars left in his contract, it
looked unlikely that Paul would get a good chance to compete for a championship while playing
However, through Paul’s dedication and leadership, he bounced back and had an outstanding
lone season with the Thunder, as they surpassed all expectations and made the playoffs. Chris
Paul brought an energy and excitement to Oklahoma City that no one else could have, and
produced an enjoyable season for all Thunder fans.
As Paul rehabilitated his trade value and was sent to the up and coming Phoenix Suns, Thunder
fans had all but good things to say about him. Seeing him elevate another franchise past
expectations can only bring back fond memories for not only Thunder fans, but Chris Paul as
well. There’s a reason why he thanked Thunder General Manager Sam Presti in his post game
press conference following his Finals clinching win against the Clippers in the Western
Even without the emotional attachment Thunder fans have with Chris Paul, it’s still hard to not
cheer for Paul as he looks to capture his first NBA title on an underdog Suns team. The all-time
great has made it further than he ever has in the playoffs, and in his 16th season nonetheless.
Paul’s ability to continue to defy the odds is remarkable.
With all Chris Paul has done for Oklahoma City, it’s only right that Thunder fans continue to
have his back as he plays on the biggest stage of his entire career. He played a hand in having
there be an NBA team in Oklahoma City. He gave it all at his lowest point and delivered an
unexpected and extremely entertaining season for the Thunder last year, and he continues to
lead another underdog team with his grit and leadership. Let’s hope this odds-defying journey
tops off with an NBA championship.