Thursday Bolts: 7.13.17

Jenni Carlson on yesterday’s “Paul George Welcome Party”: “The crowd hit every cross section. Old and young. Professionals in suits and retirees in T-shirts. Season-ticket holders who sit courtside in the Nicholson seats and those who sit in the farthest corners of Loud City. But the excitement was the same in everyone.”

Fred Katz discusses the Thunder’s changing approach: “The Thunder officially named the night “The Paul George Welcome Party.” Not a press conference; a party, an apt descriptor for the evening. It was open bar. Fans cheered throughout. The night’s master of ceremonies, Lance Fresh, entered to pump up the OKC supporters for a minute before George took the stage and spoke with the MC. It was a flamboyant celebration en lieu of the classically dry press conference atmosphere. It was atypical, especially for such a buttoned-up organization.”

Royce Young on Paul George being shocked by the trade: “It was surprising. This team wasn’t one of the teams that we had in mind,” George said. “I thought I was going to four or five other teams that were pretty active in trade [talks]. When I found out it was OKC, I was quite surprised but at the same time I was happy about the trade. I was thrilled.”

Brett Dawson on George & Westbrook working on their connection: “George called Westbrook that night, he said, and the two “went over the excitement of playing alongside one another.” They had a long talk Tuesday in Oklahoma City. “It wasn’t even about basketball,” George said. “Just vibing together and getting to know one another and creating a friendship there.”

Royce on OKC’s upcoming season of recruitment: “On what was of course the hottest day yet of summer in Oklahoma, George’s flight was delayed an hour and a half. Bottles of water were passed around. A dozen or so pizzas showed up. Fans chanted, played music, fanned themselves with homemade signs and exchanged conversations that mostly started and ended with some variation of “Paul George? Paul George!”

Tramel on PG13 making us feel like he could stay: “I got to … get a little bit of the taste of the history here, and that drew me even closer to the connection here and the reasoning for the love and the passion,” George said of his visit to the Memorial, a rite of passage for all new members of the Thunder organization. “I felt, I don’t want to say this too soon, but Oklahoman.”

Shea Serrano’s “Fairy Tale of Andre Roberson and Russelstiltskin”: “Once upon a time, a player who couldn’t hit a free throw made a deal with the king to get a new contract. Here’s what happened next.”

Paul George last night on Instagram: “Thank you Oklahoma for the experience today! Really appreciative of the support, love and energy my family and I felt today! Looking forward to representing those 3 letters on my chest… O-K-C!”

Russell Westbrook won Best Male Athlete at last night’s ESPYs: “Westbrook was nominated against Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs and Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins. The award is Westbrook’s second ESPY, as he won Best Comeback Player in 2014.”

Speaking of the ESPYs, Peyton Manning broke the Internet with a roast of KD: