Tuesday, July 22, 2008 - Love It Or Hate It...Thunder-whelmed?
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Love It Or Hate It...Thunder-whelmed?
By Sarah Spain
Love of Sports Correspondent
After 41 years in Seattle, the team formerly known as the Sonics is headed to Oklahoma City.
It's been weeks since the move was announced, but the NBA has yet to reveal the franchise's new official name and colors. So, while Kevin Durant and Co. play their summer league games in nondescript black unis, impatient fans everywhere have been tossing around possible monikers.
The O.C. Wranglers. The Oklahoma Marshalls. The Bandits. The Barons. The Oklahoma City Outlaws.
Even the O.C. Umenyioras.
On Friday, local TV station KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City announced that a source confirmed the team would be named the Oklahoma City Thunder. While O.C. team officials have yet to respond to the report, KOCO.com also sites a newly registered website as their evidence.
"KOCO.com confirmed that the registrar for all of the NBA's Internet domain names reserved okcthunderbasketball.com and okcthunderbasketball.net on July 10 …"
… Over the course of the past two weeks, KOCO.com and SportsXtra have worked together to research what's called 'whois information' on more than 200 domain names, with the focus primarily on possible nicknames such as Barons, Outlaws and Thunder. Most domain names and variations of them had been registered well before the settlement between the city of Seattle and the former Seattle Supersonics of the NBA."
It's possible the newly registered domains are the work of yet another fan hoping to cash in, but the timing of the registry has fans all over Oklahoma buzzing.
Some locals seem excited about the endless pun possibilities: Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman wrote, "The team store can be ThunderWear, which will market Thundergarments … The beer at ballgames can be ThunderWater. Analysis of the payroll cap can be called ThunderFunded."
Others — particularly those who dislike puns — are less than impressed with the name.
And I'm one of them.
The Oklahoma City Thunder? I hate it, for a number of reasons.
1. I've always been partial to teams who are named after actual creatures or characters. Not only do teams like the Bengals and the Warriors sound much more menacing than those named after inanimate objects, like the Lightning or the Fire, they also make for much better mascots. I'd rather cheer for a dancing Benny the Bull or a trampolining Hugo the Hornet than root for the Stanford Tree.
The Heat, Jazz and Magic are the only current NBA teams whose nicknames aren't pluralized animate objects. The Thunder would fit in better in the WNBA — a league whose teams are primarily named after weather systems or temperatures (i.e. the Sun, the Storm, the Fever, the Mercury).
2. Oklahoma already has a team named the Thunder — their minor league professional football team. Of all the names in the world, you'd think Clay Bennett could come up with a new and original one. Then again, if you've made a name for yourself stealing another city's team, I guess stealing a name isn't such a big deal.
You can't put all the blame on team brass, though. Seems the good people of Oklahoma are just as uninspired as their new team's owners. Shortly after the Sonics' move to Oklahoma City was announced, The Oklahoman held a 64-name bracket competition to see what name Oklahomans would give their first major league franchise. The Thunder beat out the Outlaws in the final. The paper's poll had no bearing on the actual naming of the team, but it seems Oklahoma's fans and owners all agree that stealing is A-OK.
3. I was really hoping the rumor about the Oklahoma City ThunderCats was true. As an '80s baby who admittedly used to pretend to be "Cheetara" in backyard games with my cousins, I can think of nothing better than an NBA team named after one of my favorite childhood cartoon series. Plus I'd love to see that ThunderCats insignia on the uniforms — totally badass.
What do you think? Do you Love or Hate the name "Oklahoma City Thunder?" What would you name YOUR NBA franchise?