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Readers split on Thunder name
NBA in OKC
In poll, 51 percent rejected the idea

By Darnell Mayberry Published: July 22, 2008
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If a television report is accurate and the nickname of Oklahoma City's NBA franchise really is Thunder, readers of The Oklahoman are divided on whether they like the selection.

According to a poll on The Oklahoman's Web site, NewsOK.com, 51 percent of the paper's readers don't like the name Thunder. As of late Monday night, 890 people had voted.

"I think Thunder is a good name,” said Richard Hendricks, 67, of Guthrie. "In some ways people might think the Thunder is negative. But it's a symbol of power and aggressiveness and strength, and that's what Oklahomans are all about.”

Hendricks, director of the Oklahoma Sports Museum, said a buffalo as the mascot would be a natural fit for the team since the American Bison is the state mammal.

"I think that would be a great logo and a great nickname for an NBA team,” said Hendricks, who is admittedly partial to bison because he graduated from Oklahoma Baptist, home of the Bison.

Ben Newcomb, on the other hand, called the name Thunder "fair.”

"It's all right,” said Newcomb, 30, of Oklahoma City. "Out of what I've heard on the radio and everything it's not the worst thing I could think of. I actually liked Barons. But Thunder, in all honesty, is not as hickish as some of the other ones they could have chosen. So it's a good second-place choice.”

Others have complained that Thunder is simply a loud noise, something you hear and don't see and it isn't harmful and not all that frightening. It's also being knocked by some who think it's too generic and don't like that it doesn't end in the letter "s.”

Roberta Greenway, 61, of Chickasha, said Thunder eventually will catch on if that's what the name turns out to be.

"I think that it's going to be acceptable probably to everyone, because they're ready to get on with it and get the team playing,” said Greenway.

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