For today’s Countdown to Tip-Off, let’s go back a decade and take a brief look at how the Thunder arrived in Oklahoma City. The details of the story are a bit murky in places, and depending upon who you hear it from, it can be downright brutal.
In the summer of 2008, after 41 seasons in Seattle, the Supersonics were relocated to Oklahoma City where they were renamed the Thunder. The details of the move are not exactly clean (just check out the documentary Sonicsgate or visit the website for the Seattle spin on things, or read Big League City: Oklahoma City’s Rise to the NBA by David Holt for Oklahoma City’s side).
When it was all said and done, the city of Seattle was not able to keep its team due to a lack of funding and poor fan support after the Supersonics failed to make the playoffs in seven of the team’s last ten seasons. In the final season for the Sonics, the team won a franchise history low 20 games, which just added salt to the wound, as the organization’s ownership group was already in the process of making the move.
While it is reasonably understandable that the city of Seattle was (and still is) angry about the relocation of their beloved NBA team, Oklahoma City residents could not be anything but thrilled when the team arrived. Even though “the Thunder” was not exactly a popular choice for a team name when it was first announced, basketball fans in Oklahoma have grown to love anything and everything that surrounds the organization.
Oklahoma City has established itself as one of the most successful organizations over the last decade, despite starting from the ground level AND being one of the smallest markets in the league, and it appears as if the Thunder will not be going anywhere. On another note, the city of Seattle has been pushing for years for their own team once again, and I would be thrilled for that to happen, if only to end a large portion of the animosity from the Pacific Northwest towards the Thunder.
Article written by Zack Low. Follow @TheThunderGuys on Twitter and Instagram.