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June 3, 2009

A chance to relish the memory

Blake Griffin, Ashley Paris honored

Nobody’s going to remember Blake Griffin and Ashley Paris were named the Big 12’s Sportspersons of the Year, which they happened to be Wednesday.

Perhaps, because a couple of Sooners won in tandem, some will recall, though it’s doubtful. Because in big-time college sports, for better or worse, it’s not the citizenship everybody remembers.

The Naismith award, the Heisman of college basketball, which Griffin picked up after a sophomore season for the ages, people might remember. That Courtney Paris has a twin sister, a pretty fair player in her own right, name of Ashley, people will remember.

Or that Griffin was the biggest reason OU returned to the Elite Eight for the first time since 2003 and Ashley Paris was a big reason the Sooners returned to the Final Four after seven seasons away, people will remember.

This, not really.

Just like nobody remembers last year’s winners, Kansas volleyballer Katie Martincich and Baylor basketballer Mamadou Diene.

Fine sportsmanship and community service will always be appreciated, but will never be very sexy. When you think about it, that may only increase the honor bestowed upon Griffin and Paris by the conference. And still, given a little time, it will nonetheless be forgotten.

Just not today.

Today is one more chance, brought to you by the Big 12, to remember Griffin and Paris and not simply for what they did on the court — though, for the purposes of this column, not really what they did off of it, either, despite taking part in so many community projects and charities — but for what made them unique and great stories and pleasures to deal with.

I spent a lot more time watching Griffin play than covering him. That time of the year, I draw Sherri Coale’s Sooner women as a perpetual assignment. But nobody had to cover Griffin to realize he was making history.

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