Name Oklahoma’s NBA Franchise
10:18 PM EDT on March 25, 2008
Generally, a sports franchise is only named once in its lifetime. They are like children that way. For instance, when I moved out of the house, my mother did not demand that I leave the name Clark behind. My mother is obviously not Seattle, Washington.
While this has been speculated on for awhile, news broke Tuesday that Clay Bennett may actually consider caving to this Seattleian desire as a bargaining chip in lease buyout negotiations. This does not sit well with me. My beef is that any name that we could come up is going to sound like it is best suited for a minor league franchise. That's because it takes a long time for a team name to become so ingrained that one does not question how stupid it sounds. Take, for instance, the Supersonics. Who in their right mind would want to play for a team with such a dumb name? Except with forty years of history behind the name, it makes sense. Also, the last time the city had a team to name, it became the Yard Dawgz.
I voiced these concerns to my fellow Lost Ogles and they were very sympathetic.
"We're getting a team, quit crying," said Patrick.
Then Tony said nothing because he's still giving me the silent treatment over my passionate support of the "Yes" vote. "Tell Clark they should name them the 'Tax Ripoffs'," he finally relented to Patrick.
Because we are who we are, though, we came up with a list of potential names which come after the jump...along with my (because I am who I am) analysis of the history of name changes.
As I mentioned before, teams are usually named just once. That typically comes when the league expands into a market and the team is fresh. The local media begins competitions that encourage their readers to submit possible names. I'm not saying that would happen here, but it generally leads to a bunch of suggestions that are only peripherally related to the region. Most of them are dumb. In the end your team is called something lame like "Bobcats" or "Devil Rays".
Usually when a team moves, the name sticks with them. That's how you get incredibly well fitting franchises names like the Utah Jazz (who were originally in New Orleans) or the Los Angeles Lakers (who were originally in Minneapolis). In Oklahoma's case, the name Sonics is actually not a stretch. Aside from our state being the land of 10,000 overpriced drive-in restaurants, Tinker Air Force base actually hosted the sonic boom trials in 1964.
To my knowledge, there is only one precedent for what Seattle proposes. When Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns of the NFL to Baltimore, part of the lease settlement stipulated that the name and colors of the team would stay behind until which time an expansion team could claim them. (This happened in 2000.) When Modell's players, management, and office furniture arrived in their new locale, they were eventually re-branded as the "Ravens". The name was hijacked from Baltimore native Edgar Allan Poe's classic poem. In my opinion, this was actually an upgrade. For us, though, the most likely literary option would be snatching a name from some Rodgers & Hammerstein lyrics. Oklahoma City Termaters, anyone?
Without further ado, here are your LostOgle suggestions (in no particular order):
Most people are going to suggest that we name the team based on our state's heritage as a haven for Native Americans. The problem is that any Native American themed name is bound to cause a political uproar. So, instead, we submit to you naming the team after a tribe that is less likely to get up in arms. Also, it would be an accurate description of the people filling the lower bowl of the Ford Center.
Nothing is more prestigious in this state than a weatherman. Look no further than this website.
3. Mega Churches
Some would say the team should be called the "Buffaloes" because the territory was once overpopulated with the creature. Now, you could say the same thing about ginormous religious buildings.
4. Pink Robots
Certainly better than co-opting Rodgers & Hammerstein.
We heard this on a local morning radio show and thought it was funny.
If this is the chosen name, we further suggest that the team colors be changed from green and gold to a rainbow.
7. Bible Beaters
My wife insisted on this one.
8. Swift Boaters
A little known fact is that the Cleveland Browns are named after Paul Brown, their original owner. This name would be in honor of the ownership group that is bringing the team to Oklahoma.
Alright, now it's your turn. Let us know what you would call the team in the comments section. While you're at it, the uniform colors are also probably up for changing and there will be discussion over how the location should be incorporated in the branding of the team. Should it be Oklahoma City or just Oklahoma? Perhaps you would prefer Bricktown or Big League City in front of the mascot name?
Note: The artwork at the top of this article was created by local journalist Justin Wilmeth as a concept visualization related to the most popular name suggested. In return for using this he wanted us to remind everyone to start saving for season tickets.