Oklahoma City Thunder History
The Oklahoma City franchise was founded in 1967 as the Seattle SuperSonics, where the Sonics amassed three Western Conference Championships and an NBA title in 1979. A move to Oklahoma City was announced for the franchise when it was sold to a group of investors located in the city; in 2008 however, the franchise was reincarnated as the Thunder. The team stayed in the Western Conference after the move but did transfer from the Pacific to the Northwest division. The move did destroy the I-5 rivalry the Sonics had with the Trail Blazers, however not all the history will be forgot because the Thunder plan to share history like trophies and banners with any future Seattle teams.
Oklahoma City Thunder Ownership
The Thunder franchise has been under the ownership of Clay Bennett and other Oklahoma City investors since 2006 when the previous owner, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, sold it for $350 million. Bennett encountered lawsuits from the city of Seattle when he tried to take the team to Oklahoma before the lease at KeyArena was up. Almost a month later the two sides made an agreement that allowed the franchise to relocate without playing out the last two years of the lease.
Oklahoma City Thunder Stadium
The Chesapeake Energy Arena, built in 2002, was initially designed to accommodate any major sports team. At that time it was also known as the Ford Center. This arena played host to the New Orleans Hornets when the team needed a temporary home after Hurricane Katrina. After the acquisition of the Thunder in 2006 the structure underwent renovations to become specifically an NBA arena. In 2010 the name was changed from the Ford Center to the Oklahoma City Arena.
Oklahoma City Thunder Fan Base
Despite being relatively young, Oklahoma City already has one of the strongest fan bases in the NBA. The Oklahoma City Arena is notorious for being extremely loud as sellouts of 18,203 people are commonplace. This enthusiasm may result from Oklahoma’s lack of other major professional sports teams. OKC’s recent success has led to a rapidly developing national fan base as well.
Oklahoma City Thunder Coaching
After a disappointing start in a new city the Thunder fired head coach P.J. Carlesimo after only fourteen games into the season. They promoted assistant coach Scott Brooks to the interim head coach position. After Brooks became the head coach the team showed improvement, but was still mediocre at best. This improvement was enough to earn Brooks the permanent head-coaching job. Since Brooks took over as the head coach the team has had a better record each year.
OKC’s quick climb to one of the best teams in the NBA was due in large part to its trio of Olympians; Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. All three players are considered great scorers with Durant claiming the scoring title each of the last three years. All three of these players and many of OKC’s other players have been drafted by the franchise. This is different than most other successful teams who trade or sign free agents to fill out their rosters. This draft and breed approach has made OKC one of the best teams in the NBA while allowing them to stay young. Look for Oklahoma to only get better as their young core of stars develop into complete players. This last season was Oklahoma’s best so far as it made it to the NBA Finals but suffered a disappointing loss to Miami. Nevertheless, OKC showed it has the potential to win a championship very soon. It seems that the only thing stopping OKC from being a perennial finals contender is their ability to resign all its players to long-term contracts. If they can do this Oklahoma City should be consistently be a favorable selection in the sportsbooks at www.nbabetting.org.