Emails flood in on Thunder
A new batch of emails, but primarily the same old subject. The NBA nickname. Some comment on Thunder, others still cling to the notion of running through another name and some just want to have fun.
Ralph asked, “If the local NBA team takes the name, ‘The Wind,’ would not that open up the rest of the country to perceive Oklahoma City as being a flatulent society?”
I don’t know, but it would open up the rest of the country to perceive us as very unimaginative.
Lou is campaigning for thunderlizard as the mascot for the Thunder. “Years ago Gary England used to refer to his thunderlizard as part of the forecast. For some reason, he stopped, whether it was requested by the station or what, but it was funny.”
I like it. I like it a lot. Of course, I’d like the Oklahoma City Lizards even better.
Todd admitted that “it is absolutely too late to get a name in for the team. I just think the OKC Dirt Devils sound so much better than the Thunder, and you could actually come up with a mascot with that. I don’t know how many Oklahomans know what a dirt devil is, but it is a mini twister that happens out in the open plains or fields of Oklahoma.
Devils of any kind doesn’t have staying power. That said, I sort of like it.
Steve said the six finalists for the NBA name “are an embarrassment to the state. Let’s make this a simple decision for Clay and the boys. The team name: Twisters. Team song: The Twist by Chubby Checker. The dance team: Twistettes: How simple can this be?”
Well, Twistettes is pretty simple. Simple-minded. That being said, the idea of the Ford Center rocking to “The Twist” makes me rethink my original denouncing of the Twisters idea.
David wrote, “I gotta love the name Oklahoma City Marshalls, one of the names the NBA slapped a trademark on. The team is to be named not for the old western lawkeepers, who sported but a single “L” in their title. The double “L” clearly indicates the team is to be named for my alma mater: John Marshall. YIPPEE! Take that, U.S. Grant and Northwest Classen.”
Settle down, David. I think more likely, the department store. And most likely, someone didn’t spell check.
Terry wrote, “Why is everyone so surprised it’s taking so long to release the team name? Stop and think. What is the club marketing right now? Practice jerseys and caps. What do these things sell for, $30, $40 each? Once they are all gone and college football starts dominating the sports talk and pages, the name will be released. These owners aren’t dummies and as long as there is a buck to be made, they’ll let this linger. Also they can steal a little of football’s thunder, pun intended, by waiting until practice kicks off and get the team back in the spotlight for awhile. Whatcha think?”
I think they will sell a ton more Thunder stuff than generic OKC stuff.
Brock wrote, “Here is my question: Why do we have to have a nickname, at least right now? Why rush to pick a nickname for the sake of having one? Why not take the time to do it right instead of rushing into something prematurely? There’s nothing worse than trying to rebrand five or 10 years later. Is there some NBA rule that says you have to have a nickname? I’ll admit I’m a little bit of a sucker for the romantic notion that the best nicknames seem to be the ones that just kind of developed over time like the Red Sox (who didn’t have an official nickname until 1908). For a year, every can just know the team as Oklahoma City. I like hearing the city’s name everywhere. I think the two shirts the NBA has for sale that just say “OKC” and “Property of Oklahoma City basketball” are cool. Then people (sportswriters and fans) can just start calling them a variety of nicknames and if something seems to stick then use it. It will have the feeling of tradition more than marketing. Of course this won’t happen. I know how the world works.”
Well, interesting theory. Reminds me of when I was a kid, and the pastor of our church left, and some woman told my dad she didn’t know why we even needed a pastor. Because without a pastor, everything falls apart. And without a nickname, you can’t market for beans. This isn’t studying for medical school; if something good hasn’t come to us by now, it’s not going to.
Ron wrote, “How about War Chiefs for the NBA team? War Chiefs is a position equal to a general, not at all racist.”
War Chiefs had no more chance than Injuns.
Mercedes wrote, “I’m still waking up at night with ideas. Now, a new song is ringing in my ears. Looks like the Thunder and Lightning and Storms were left in Seattle. They’ll find blue skies in Oklahoma City. I remember singing a lively song of optimism and enthusiasm. Could be an entry song: ‘Blue skies smiling at me. Nothing but blue skies do I see. Blue days, all of them gone. Nothing but blue skies from now on. Never saw the sun shining so bright. Never saw things going so right. Noticing the days hurrying by. When you’re in love, my, how they fly.’ Then cheers: We love Oklahoma City! We love the (New Team Name)! Yeah! Come on – let’s go! We’re ready for the show! Followed by that yodeling woman I heard on the newscast the other day. Did you catch that? I never heard anything like it. I didn’t even need my hearing aids. Wonder if a yodeling woman with that much talent and spirit could be a mascot?”
Mercedes, I say this with all due respect. Get some sleep.
Ray wrote, “The NBA team name we have not seen: Harvesters. The majority of people in Oklahoma look forward at least once a year to the harvest. Wheat farmers depend on the harvest. Those who do the deed are the Harvesters. Peach growers, watermelon, corn, baby calves even spiritual leaders teach us about the harvest. Sports recruiters who succeed have a great harvest. I personally would love to watch my team have a great HARVEST every year. They could be the best HARVESTERS ever in the league.”
Years ago, there was a gospel music group called the Harvesters. I thought it was sort of a clunky name. But an NBA team called the Harvesters would be even clunkier.
Joel asked, “Does one of the majority owner’s daughter have a horse called Thunder? That would be the only reason to name a team that! When I was young, all the little girls’ horses were named Thunder. Now really, isn’t that a little hick? Barons or Oil Barons would be better than that, maybe a little too close to where the money come from to buy the team! 89ers or something, please!”
I guess it could be worse. I guess they could have selected the Black Beauties.
Josh wrote about my suggestion for Garth Brooks’ The Thunder Rolls as an anthem at Thunder games. “You do know that The Thunder Rolls is about adultery, domestic violence and, in a 1991 video, glamorized murder as a solution to both, correct? On second thought, it is the NBA! Probably a proper fit. But I’d still have gone with Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen. And if they call the arena The ThunderDome, then fans can chant ‘TWO MEN ENTER! ONE MAN LEAVES!’ before every game, an allusion to the 1985 Golden-Globe nominated Mad Max movie. THAT would be the coolest chant in pro sports.”
No, I plead ignorance on Garth Brooks’ song. But I’m all over this TWO MEN ENTER stuff.
John wrote, “Now that I think about it, there are scores of better names for the NBA team here. Just a few examples: Noodlers, Flatheads, Bluecats, Sodbusters, Dusters, (Civilized) Tribesmen, Mezocyclones, High Pressure Ridges, Land Rushers (or just Rushers), Natives, Wind and, of course, the Gunslingers, Outlaws, Criminals and maybe even The Bassmasters. I’ll send more as I think of them. Hopefully it isn’t too late.”
Hopefully, it is.
Matt wrote, “It will be disappointing to have the new NBA team name be on par with Wild, Magic, Lightning and Storm. Thunder will not sell t-shirts, jerseys or hats outside of Oklahoma unless OKC is lucky enough to get the next Michael Jordan. There are three directions to go with a team name. Classic (Steelers, Celtics, Dodgers…even Nationals). New: (Thunder, Avalanche, Rays). Funny/Endearing (Banana Slugs, Gorillas, Tree Frogs, etc). If classic wasn’t possible, then funny is the way to go. New is neither classic or funny…well, it’s funny for people outside of Oklahoma.”
No major-league franchise ever has done funny. I’m sort of glad Oklahoma City isn’t the first.
Russ wrote that he likes Thunder better than my Thunderbirds: “What’s so uniquely Oklahoman about Thunderbirds? It’s a car that rolled out of Detroit for decades, it’s the U.S. Air Force demonstration fighter jet team based in Las Vegas, it’s a mythological bird from Native American cultures all across the North America, not just Oklahoma. Thunder is a very uniquely Oklahoman name and concept. You see, around here it’s not just a weather term, it’s far more than that to us. I’ve heard thunder even in New Jersey, but it sounds nothing like thunder rolling across the open Oklahoma plains, and it certainly sounds nothing like the pounding feet, hooves and wagon wheels of stampeding thousands scrambling to stake their claims! That’s an entirely different kind of thunder rolling across our red earth, one not heard before or since. The first crack of thunder means a new beginning, with hope. It’s a sign that rain is coming, and with rain there blossoms new life and new hope. Thunder wells up hope within us that when it rains it pours, refreshing the land. Like a land run, thunder signifies the beginning of what we are and are becoming. We hold hope that this NBA team is a symbol of a bigger, brighter, major-league future for Oklahoma City and the state. When Thunder rolls in Oklahoma, we bring in the cattle, shutter the windows, and look anxiously across the fields; something serious is coming. When Thunder shakes our land we know there is lightning and the promise of a powerful storm on the way. In Oklahoma, Thunder even rolls across the plains on a dry sunny day, the power of people creating something new, something grand. We know that thunder is unstoppable, whether it echoes across the sky or stampedes across the ground. It is the way we see our people, our land, our future, and linked to that future, our NBA team … you see, the reason Thunder won The Oklahoman’s name bracket in the spring and the reason it’s growing on you, too, is because Thunder is not merely another ‘singular name thing,’ as you put it. It’s a solid metaphor for our state, our city.”
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