Scissorhands, Blessed Bladez, and the Night Paul George Stayed in Oklahoma City
"You will be surprised at what comes out of the barbershop." Those words should be on a plaque in every media room in the NBA.
They were spoken by Corey Sutter, aka Scissorhands, owner of the Fade-N-Up, the place where athletes go in Oklahoma City when they need a fresh trim. Sutter not only has a star-studded clientele; he's also going to be one of the first to know when big sports news breaks.
Two years ago, Paul George chose to stay in Oklahoma City, spurning the Lakers by agreeing to a 4-year, $137 million max contract. Yes, there was a video of George making his announcement during an exclusive party that night, but the real credit should go to Sutter, who tweeted out, "Thunder Fans get ready for some GREAT NEWS" at 1:54 pm the same day.
Anyone with a clue knew precisely what the well-connected Scissorhands was trying to tell us. Sutter won't say who told him what George was up to, just that it wasn't a member of the Thunder.
The relationship between athlete and barber is a tight one. Barbers are one-third best friend, one-third pastor, and one-third therapist. Just ask George's barber from when he was in Oklahoma City, Jack Walker, aka Blessed Bladez.
Walker was texted by George, who heard about him from Walker's A-list of clients, from his private plane the day he was traded to the Thunder. George told Walker to meet him at the Colcord Hotel, and the two have been friends ever since.
Walker says the reasons athletes feel so comfortable around their barbers is because they can be real.
"I feel like the more transparent you are about your life and things you've been through, things that maybe you've gotten wrong, once you share stuff like that people are more willing to open up and see that you're authentic more than anything."
Walker didn't just cut George's hair; they formed a relationship that consisted of confiding in each other, sharing personal experiences, and praying together. That openness not only earned George's trust but the trust of everyone who seeks out Walker's services.
The day George made his announcement, Walker was in Dayton, Ohio. A call from Russell Westbrook set off the alarm that something was up.
Westbrook was on his way back to Oklahoma City from Hawaii when he reached out to Walker.
"I just thought whenever Russ gave me that call, the timing of it was kind of odd," Walker said. "But he was coming back for Paul George's announcement party, and he wanted to get a haircut."
A few hours later, George would tell the world that he was remaining with the Thunder. Unfortunately, that would be Westbrook and George's last season in Oklahoma City. But for many, the euphoria felt by Thunder fans two years ago was worth the heartbreak that would come the next summer.
Walker and Sutter are as genuine as they come. If you're lucky enough to have your hair cut by these two gentlemen, you're not just getting a barber; you're getting a friend.
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