The NBA Logo Ranking Project:
#27 – Oklahoma City Thunder

The promise shown by Oklahoma City’s young talent nucleus (Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, Jeff Green and, possibly, James Harden) combined with the ongoing outrage aimed at team owner Clay Bennett for hijacking the franchise from Seattle has, for the most part, moved the comedy of errors that is the team’s name and logo to the backburner.

No longer.

Let’s start with the name. Obviously, nonplural sports team names are dumb. The Jazz are probably the closest to not being cringe-inducing, but it’s still unpalatable to say. Even worse is reading the variation in subject/verb agreement when nonplural teams are discussed in written form. Logically, the Jazz, Heat and Magic should all be treated as plural nouns just like the Celtics, Lakers and Bulls. By the rationale of context, they should become like deer, moose or fish in that the singular and plural forms are the same word. “The Magic ARE on a four-game win streak,” for instance, not “The Magic IS on a four-game win streak.” Still, two decades after Orlando and Miami entered the League, there is no consistency, and you will see the names handled differently depending on the publication.

Moreover, even for a nonplural, the name Thunder is just weak. Dogs and 12-year-old girls are the only things scared of thunder. Lighting is a little scary, sure. It can kill you. But loud noises are not intimidating. There are certainly thousands of other nouns that Oklahoma City could have chosen that would have been better, but, for my money, the Oklahoma City Outlaws would have been the ideal choice.

See, the only two things Oklahoma is widely known for is being the title of a simple musical I was forced to watch in elementary school and being the nickname for the notorious gunslinger The Oklahoma Kid, who was played by bonafide tough guy James Cagney in the 1939 film of the same name. (It should be noted that legendary badass Humprey Bogart starred in the film as well.) Throw in the alliteration benefit and calling a team the Oklahoma City Outlaws is a no-brainer.

Then all you have to do to have a great new franchise is steal the phenomenal Arizona Outlaws logo from the defunct USFL. But that would have been way too easy, I guess. Instead, the powers that be in OKC opted for a lame name and a logo that looks more fitting of an internet browser. Or worse, a WNBA team.

thunder logo

This doesn’t belong on a jersey. It belongs on a KFC Famous Bowl.

11 thoughts on “The NBA Logo Ranking Project:
#27 – Oklahoma City Thunder”

  1. Not saying it has to be intimidating, Royce. Those three you listed aren’t. (Although the concept of spurs is kind of badass.) But those three you list all have local meaning. (Of course, the Lakers meaning being local to Minneapolis.) Is OKC really known for having lots of thunder? Not really more than many other places as far as I understand it. If it’s not local, may as well go intimidating, like the Chicago Bears or the Detroit Lions. If you’re going to not go local or badass, may as well of have just become the Oklahoma City Unicorns.

    And, Katie, we watched Oklahoma! in Ms. Smith’s chorus class. I remember being forced to sing that Surry with a Fringe on top garbage.

  2. I guess Thunder is as local as Heat is. It’s more of a tribute to the severe weather in Oklahoma. And also, with the bison mascot, it also represents Native America and the rumbling thunder of bison running on the open plains.

    And ALSO, the famous 45th Infantry Division is from Oklahoma (nicknamed the Thunderbirds) and so it’s also tribute to them.

    I’m not defending the name because I never liked it, but well, I guess I am kind of defending it now.

  3. It makes absolutely no difference what Jared Wade (whoever he is) thinks about the Thunder name and logo. As a resident Thunder fan, I like them both and that is all that matters. If you don’t like them, too bad! It’s really none of your business.

  4. I can’t even think of another main NBA team logo that didn’t have the team’s name in it. And it looks like something that should be an alternate logo at best.

    The logo and uniforms look like something that were put together in two hours at the most. The road uniforms look like a bad drawing of a Knicks road uniform, and “Oklahoma City” has no business taking up most of the uniform (why didn’t they just stick with “OKC?” They loved it enough to put it in the main logo.)

  5. Wow, can’t believe this logo isn’t last! Maybe it was too obviously the worst to actually put it last.

    Fitting to have the worst logo to go with the worst name. I know one of the other candidates was the Barons, with black unis. That would have been pretty sweet, really.

  6. perhaps this is pointless, but i think grammatically the sports world should treat team names as singular nouns. For example, “The Lakers is World Champion.” It sounds terrible and so will never be used But The Lakers is the proper name for a singular team. Therefore, if it’s the team that is the world champion, then it should be used as such. Unless of course we are talking about the Lakers players. That’s different. grammar is quite absurd.

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