Football season has only just begun, but Grantland has already turned its eye toward basketball season with its “definitive” ranking of NBA teams logos.
I’ll spare you the gory details: The Oklahoma City Thunder is ranked last. I’m not really going to take issue with the ranking, because the Thunder’s logo is undeniably bad (though it’s not worse than whatever the Clippers were trying to do with their reboot for this season.)
One thing this ranking reminded me of was just how weird the Thunder’s first season in Oklahoma City was.
I should know, I was addicted to it.
I followed along with every bit of news that squeaked out of Seattle as the battle there eventually brought the team to Oklahoma.
I feverishly read Summer League updates (the team didn’t even have a logo or team name yet, so they wore black duds that basically said “Oklahoma City NBA Team.”
Once the “Thunder” name came out, I bought my entire family ugly shirts that had nothing on them except the team’s ugly logo.
I attended the very first game in Oklahoma, an exhibition against Yao Ming, Ron Artest and the Rockets right here in Tulsa at the BOK Center.
I bought two tickets to the season opener, a game in Oklahoma City against the Milwaukee Bucks, and attended it with my brother.
That’s where things got really weird.
I remember waiting in the arena before the game, wondering what kind of pregame activities the team could have dreamed up considering the short turnaround (the fight to get the team from Seattle to Oklahoma dragged on into the summer before the first season here.)
I remember David Stern taking the stage to welcome “Oklahomer City, Oklahomer” to the NBA, but not before his microphone shorted out.
“It’s the first day,” he told the crowd.
I remember the lights went down low and the crowd got quiet. I remember hearing PA announcer advertise that a “Grammy winning” recording artist was coming to the court. I remember thinking that heralded good things. It could be anyone. Prince? Pharrell? Justin Timberlake?
Nope. It was C+C Music Factory.
They “sang” their huge hit “Everybody Dance Now.”
It did not exactly win the crowd — a bunch of bewildered old white people — over. I remember when I said something on Facebook about the fact that C+C Music Factory was dusted off for the game, a friend of mine exclaimed “This is why I wonder if the NBA can make it in OKC.”
Of course, we all know how that played out. Things there have ranged from fine to much better than fine. Which brings me to the other thing I took from Zach Lowe’s Grantland article.
If Lowe is right, Nike is getting involved with the Thunder to revamp things for 2017 when The Swoosh takes over the NBA uniform contract from Adidas.
I’m not averse to buying into conspiracy theories from time to time, so, in my book, Nike working hand-in-hand with the Thunder is a good sign. Both Kevin Durant (a Nike athlete) and Russell Westbrook (Jordan Brand) will have hit the free agent market by 2017. Surely Nike won’t want to spend all that time redesigning uniforms and rebranding a team devoid of its superstars.
You heard it here first folks, Westbrook and Durant are both going to re-sign.