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Top 25 Oklahoma Sports Figures Since 2000 (11-15)

8:00 PM EST on February 24, 2011

How do I continue to post such brilliance? Genetics and plenty of free time, I guess.

Recap last week's list:

20 Rhett Bomar

19 Desmond Mason

18 Courtney Paris

17 Sunny Galloway's daughter

16 Russell Westbrook

And this week's brilliance begins with ...

15 Matt Kemp

I selected Matt Kemp with my first round pick last year in my baseball fantasy draft. After winning the Silver Slugger award in 2009, he failed to live up to the hype in 2010 despite what many players would deem a career year. And he isn't fondling Rhianna anymore. Disappointment all around.

I tell that short story to tell you this story.

Last summer, I was on a plane from Phoenix to Oklahoma City after visiting my in-laws. After that visit to Phoenix ... in August ... I drank myself to oblivion in an attempt to forget said trip to Phoenix ... in August. The guy next to me on the plane was quite the talker. As was I after 8 Jack and, well, just Jack actually. At some point in the conversation, he tells me his son plays professional baseball.

"Ryan Franklin? Brad Penny? Brian Tallett?", I slur to the large not-white guy next to me.

"Matt Kemp!", he exclaims with pride.

"Tell him to quit swinging at every pitch he sees. He is killing my on base percentage. What a first round disaster he has been."

Twas a quiet flight.

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14 Jonathan Horton (NOT PICTURED)

A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, Jonathan won 6 NCAA titles as a member of the Sooner's Men's Gymnastics team. He was a member of two team national championships. Most recently, he was a member of the 2008 Olympic team in Beijing, winning the silver medal in the high bar and a team bronze.

I have a thing for female gymnasts. Most are tiny, like 5' tall or something like that. the smaller the girl, the bigger my biceps look. They are in amazing shape. I think my lumpy, Rubik's cube shape balances out the hard body of, say, Alicia Sacramone (see above). And they can do cool stuff. Stuff I can't even think of. And that's awesome. Because I have a fantastic imagination.

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13 Clay Bennett

Not an athlete. Not a coach. But probably the single most significant person in recent Oklahoma City history. As chairman of the new ownership of the Seattle Supersonics, Clay laid down an unattainable ultimatum to the city of Seattle soon after leading the purchase of the Sonics - build us a new stadium or we will leave ... maybe.

"Maybe" of course was code for "to Oklahoma City as soon as humanly possible".

After the citizens of Seattle predictably shot down a bond that would provide the Sonics with a new home in the Pacific Northwest, Clay packed up Kevin Durant and the mediocre 11 and left for browner pastures in Oklahoma City. The team immediately impacted the city positively. And by approving such shrewd moves as the hiring of Sam Presti as general manager, Clay Bennett has created a brand here in Oklahoma City that appears prime for decades of success, both on the court and off.

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12 Matt Hoffman

Unlike most of you (that means you, BBJ), I know all there is to know about the world of sports in Oklahoma. I know that the greatest tennis player to come out of Oklahoma was not Maria Sharapova. I know that Mickey Mantle's uniform number was 7. I know that Vernon Maxwell was the greatest high school running back in the history of Oklahoma that played in 1995 on the west of state. I know that Shannon Miller is in fact not 6' tall.

I also know that the best athlete in the sport of BMX is arguably Matt Hoffman. Oklahoma isn't home to many of "the greatest athletes in XXX sport". Matt defined modern BMX racing with his innovative style and willingness to take on the big jump. Many greats of the sport credit Matt with influencing the direction of their careers. Though he might not be a superstar in one of the more recognizable sports, he certainly is a great athlete.

One other thing I know (now), is that his name is actually MAT Hoffman, Patrick. Yeah. Not MATT Hoffman. Thanks for that crack research.

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11 Jason White

Born in Tuttle, Jason White was the best passing quarterback in OU history until another guy who will appear on this list. Had Jason not pissed down his leg against Kansas State and LSU (yes, injuries might have been a factor crazy OU daywalker), and had USC not fielded one of the greatest college football teams of all-time, Jason would crack the top 2 of this little list. Alas, Jason will have to settle for the 11th spot and a conference championship*.

Before there was Sam Bradford, there was Jason White. He won the Heisman Trophy following the 2003 regular season in which he threw for 40 touchdowns amd 8 interceptions. A Heisman Finalist in 2004, he had a better season, completing 65% of his passes with 35 touchdowns.

Unfortunately, he will be known as much for what he did as what he didn't do. And that is tragic because he was a great college football player despite the play-calling of Chuck Long.

*Yes, I know he has a couple of rings from 2000. But so does Matt McCoy

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