Looking at the list of former Oklahoma roundball greats included for NBA 2K17 is an interesting exercise.
On one hand, the expected names of recent greats like Blake Griffin and Buddy Hield are there. And there are also notable former Sooner greats like Anthony Bowie, Stacey King, Eduardo Najera and Waymon Tisdale on the roster.
However, there is one rather notable omission from this list, and his name is Mookie Blaylock.
Sure, since leaving the NBA, Blaylock has made news for the wrong reasons and is currently incarcerated for vehicular homicide. But when he ran the floor for the Sooners, then coached by Billy Tubbs, he was absolutely sensational.
Blaylock was a big reason why the 1987-88 Sooners were the toast of the college ranks and made it all the way to the 1988 NCAA Championship Game, where they inexplicably fell to a Kansas team coached by Larry Brown and led by Danny Manning, a group appropriately nicknamed “Danny and the Miracles.”
But even though the Crimson-and-Cream fell short in what should have been their year, Blaylock is the only one of four former OU greats who has his number hanging from the rafters at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman not to be on the roster for 2K17.
The other three, Alvan Adams, Hield and Tisdale, are available for selection.
Blaylock’s omission is the major name left out, but there are others who are at least worthy of consideration. Brent Price may now be most known as Marc’s little brother, but during his time at OU, he was quite the player, and he too should be on the list.
And what about other former greats like Ricky Grace or Dave Sieger, the long-distance shooter who was teammates with Blaylock, King and the like for those great Sooner teams of the late 1980s?
Jeff Webster came along a bit later, but he too deserves to be on this list.
So, were Blaylock included on this roster, he would have to be the starting point guard, no doubt about it. The rest of what is a pretty strong starting five would likely consist of Hield, Najera, Griffin and Tisdale.
Blaylock would be the obvious man to run the offense for this team of all-time greats with Hield being the designated shooter, Najera doing the bulk of the dirty work and all those little things that never show up in the box score, like getting under the opposition’s skin. Meanwhile, Griffin and Tisdale would form a nice one-two inside but guys who can also step out a bit and stop-and-pop.
The bench would be led by Bowie, a former NBA player who honestly could push Hield to start for this group, along with fellow former NBAer Alvan Adams, a solid big man in his days in the Association, most notably with the Phoenix Suns.
King, a longtime broadcaster for the Chicago Bulls, could also be a candidate to start, but who would you take out of the first five out of Griffin or Tisdale? Try neither, so Stacey comes off the bench.
Harvey Grant is another former OU great who is fortunately included on this list, someone who is best known as Horace’s twin brother. Gar Heard, who made a name for himself as an NBA head coach and an assistant coach, is also available for selection.
Sieger would give the bench a great long-range option on the second unit.
And why not have a coach option in this game? Besides Tubbs, gamers could also have the option of having current OU head coach Lon Kruger calling the shots, or maybe even Kelvin Sampson.
Personally, I’d go with Tubbs considering the success he had in Norman, but that’s a personal choice.
So, on one hand, NBA 2K17 scores some points for having the usual big names of Griffin, King and Tisdale included among its list of all-time Oklahoma Sooner greats. But tweak the list a bit by adding Blaylock, Price, Seager and maybe even Webster, and that would be a group not even the most die-hard Sooner fans could quibble with.
For those wondering about where I’m coming from on this, bear in mind that I am an Oklahoma State grad and a lifelong fan of the Orange-and-Black. So I naturally have no affinity for OU, but have seen enough Bedlam Series basketball between the Sooners and Cowboys and enough of OU’s other games to formulate an informed opinion about who the greatest players in that program over the last nearly four decades were.
And Mookie Blaylock should definitely be on this roster. After all, Pearl Jam named its first album after the number he wore, Ten. That fact alone should have him on this list. (It must be noted that perhaps his rights were not able to be secured for the game.)
Still, the point is that this list of players, albeit a group that needs some tweaking, gives OU fans plenty of options to mix and match, to sort of create their own Sooner Dream Team, possibly to take on the Kansas Dream Team in a rematch of the ’88 title game? Quite possibly, the options are truly endless.